Friday, December 21, 2018

Tomorrow, More Sun

Winter is on my head, but eternal Spring is in my heart. ~ Victor Hugo

Hello, Winter Solstice. And, may I say, helluva disguise you got there.

When we left for Christmas revelry in NOVA yesterday morning, it was chilly and the sky looked leaden. Driving home last night, it would have been warm enough to open the car windows had the rain not been falling in buckets. Not the transition I expected weather-wise.

Waking up to find that it was already 64 degrees this morning - we should have been suspicious when the heat barely ran all night - meant dressing for my walk with Mac like it was Spring. Or Fall.

But certainly not the Winter Solstice.

I compromised by wearing a thin t-shirt, an even thinner hoodie, my standard athletic skirt/shorts (often referred to by Mr. Wright as my pink tutu) and tights. Mac showed up in leggings, a t-shirt and a jacket, so I immediately began razzing her. A jacket?

For a smart woman, she sure can overdress.

We got two blocks away and I decided to go back for my sun hat because despite a sky full of turbulent and dramatic clouds, it was obvious the sun was trying to come through.

We got four blocks away and paused to tease a friend - the guy who works in the window restoration shop - about not having his garage door rolled up on such a glorious morning. He pointed to the multiple stacks of windows leaning against the door that were preventing opening it, a good reason, if unfortunate for him. I pointed to Mac, overdressed in a jacket, and asked if she could leave it there.

After all, what are friends for?

It was somewhere over on Fourth Street where we spotted the guy in the fur-trimmed, short red skirt (the  kind usually seen on Santa's shapely young elves), black socks and brown shoes, his bald spot a shining circle around which hung limp, gray hair. Very festive.

We got almost to Brown's Island before Mac suggested we walk Belle Isle instead, an idea that had also occurred to me, since we haven't been able to get on the pipeline in what feels like months. Mac said she needed to hear water today and with the James above flood stage, we were guaranteed plenty of roaring river sounds.

Walking across the pedestrian bridge, we got behind a couple of slow-walking guys and Mac asked them how with their much longer legs were they slowing our roll. One claimed he was already short of breath from walking, so just smiled and passed them by. 

On the island, the path was a muddy, puddle-filled mess, but the sounds of a rushing river was just what we wanted after a sweaty walk to get there. I'd long since tied my hoodie around my waist, but if you want to know how hot it was, I stopped in one of the Porta-Potties - holding my breath all the while - and took off my leggings so I'd be cooler.

That's right, I walked bare-legged on this Winter Solstice and I feel fine.

As if we weren't sweaty enough, I caved to Mac and we started home by walking up Brown's island Way, the ridiculously steep hill I usually avoid unless it's night time and I'm at the Folk Fest. But for Mac, I agreed to do it, even if it did mean pit stains to beat the band by the time we made it up to Second Street.

And although we never spotted another fur-trimmed mini-Santa skirt, we passed more than a few people in Santa hats, including one woman we said good morning to who iced us out. As Mac pointed out, if you're going to make the effort to wear a Santa hat, shouldn't you at least return a friendly greeting?

The first thing I did when I got home was open every window in my apartment to let in the sunshine and air far warmer than what my heat pump produces. It's a pain to open storm and regular windows, but there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to air out the place, especially given predicted temperatures in the '40 for the next week.

I know that my least favorite season, Winter, is just starting and there's nothing I can do about that, but I prefer to focus on the fact that starting tomorrow, daylight begins to return. Every day will be a tiny step closer to the weather and seasons that make me happiest.

Truth be told, I feel better already and not just because we're turning the page on losing daylight. Getting to take a sweaty walk bare-legged in shorts today is about the closest thing to a Christmas miracle a heathen like me could hope for.

I've no doubt the guy in the Santa skirt was feeling the same thing. Those of us with Spring in our hearts are so obvious.

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