Now is the winter of our discontent.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester, in Richard III, Act I, Scene I
The other day, my friend the snow and I got reacquainted when it arrived and overstayed its welcome as usual. Because of this “friend,” I’ve gotten into the habit of kicking my boots whenever I pass them in the hall. Something has to share my pain.
Thanks to the other day’s snowfall, this area has had about 79 inches of snow this year, which is not the all-time record for us, believe it or not. Winter of 1978–1979 holds that record with 89 inches of snow.
I can’t help thinking of the quatrains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which go
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
Only for us, it’s “snow, snow, everywhere” “day after day, day after day,” a situation nowhere near as dire as the ancient mariner’s. But we’ve reached the part of winter where I’m ready to run out into the snow, screaming like a banshee: “Why don’t you die already, Winter???? Ya hear me?? Die!!!!!”
But you know what else seems to have overstayed its welcome? Discouragement. Many good friends face discouraging situations right now. My heart aches for them. When they hurt, I hurt. And I can’t say that life is a bowl of cherries for me either. Life is like that sometimes, isn’t it?
Like this endless winter, these troubles seem to wrap everything in a cold numbness. Just when you think you don’t have any tears left to shed, you encounter another hard situation and find that you do.
The other day I watched an episode of Book 3: Fire, the third season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, for about the 900th time. SPOILER ALERT: Still reeling from the events at the end of Book 2: Earth, the hero, Aang, is at his lowest ebb. As he contemplates his perceived failure (and you need to see the last episode of Book 2 to find out why he thinks this) and recovers from his near death experience (Miracle Max from The Princess Bride would have pronounced him “mostly dead” at that point), encouragement comes from two sources: Roku, one of his past lives, and Yue, the Moon Spirit. END SPOILERS. Okay, maybe those names mean nothing to you if you’re not a fan of Avatar. But I was struck by Aang’s determination to keep going, despite the difficult circumstances of his young life.
Roku and Yue (um, Yue’s the one in the dress)
Billy Crystal as Miracle Max
I needed that reminder to persevere, though doing so isn’t always easy. I’m also grateful for friends who provide encouragement and words of kindness like, “I’ll pray for you” or “Come over for dinner. We miss you.” I’m also thankful for the little things, like the sun finally deciding to show up, though it arrived late and without an excuse. A little bit of light goes a long way.
Maybe today, you also feel as pummeled as some of my friends feel or as the perps feel after an encounter with Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) on a typical episode of Agents of Shield. Only for you, the last part of that line I just wrote doesn’t even raise a smile. Maybe nothing seems funny right now. The world is one huge gray cloud. “Grief, grief, everywhere” “day after day, day after day.” Even if hope for you seems like a hummingbird’s wings, flitting too fast for you to track, my hope for you is for this winter of your discontent to soon pass, and that you find the courage and hope to keep going.
Shakespeare, William. Richard III. New York: Signet Classic Edition, 1964. 33. Print.
Yue image from avatar.answers.wikia.com. Roku from avatar.wikia.com. Melinda May photo from marvel.wikia.com. Aang image from ohappydagger.wordpress.com. Hummingbird from Wikipedia. Bowl of cherries from commons.wikimedia.org.
Keep on persevering!
Hmm your post also reminds me that it may be time for an Avatar rewatch. 🙂
Isaac, it’s definitely time for that! 😀 Hope you’ll do a post on your rewatch.
Keep on keeping on is a very British saying too 🙂
Ah. Good to know, Andy. I’m trying to keep on keeping on. 🙂
Really anyone can do most days. Though the winter is making that harder and harder every day. Hard to get out of bed (or stay out of it) when one’s first thought is to check for frostbite.
Sigh. Yes. The bed feels so cozy on cold days. I had a hard time getting up today, because the temperature dropped again. 😦
Same here. It was so nice yesterday and dropped into the teens today.
Great post, and I agree–go away winter and discouragement both!
Thanks, Laurie. Yes, we could all use a change of season. 🙂
Hang in there, Linda. You’ve made it over the hump and it’s all downhill now. Soon everyone will be complaining about the heat. 🙂 Love the picture of the hummingbird…my favorite!
So true, Jill! I was talking to a neighbor who said the same thing–that we would complain about the 90 degree temperature. 🙂
I’ve only seen hummingbirds when I visited San Diego. Someone claims they saw them last year here.
During the summer months, they will be in your area. It takes some time to attract them to a feeder, but once you do, the same ones will continue to return each year. Their tiny brains are like an advanced GPS! I love them!
I love the image of hummingbirds having a GPS in their heads. 🙂
The spring will come and with it, greatness!
Spring and greatness would be lovely. 🙂
I could read your writing all day, any day. Here is just one paltry example of what I love: “…the sun finally deciding to show up, though it arrived late and without an excuse.” Enjoy that slacker sun. Here’s hoping for warmer days ahead.
Thanks, Laura! Sadly, the sunshine was fleeting. Back to gray skies. I think I eat more sugar on days like this than on sunnier days.
Thank you for your thoughtful words. They come in especially handy because I slipped on the ice last Friday night and am hobbling around on a badly sprained ankle. I suppose we look for encouragement where we can. I do with my LEGO stories on Instagram that seem to have touched a chord (as well as some truly outstanding work from another LEGO photographer who’s also dedicated to using the toy in the cause of social justice).
Oh man, Lyn! I’m so sorry! Did you see a doctor? It’s hard having a sprain in this weather. Keep it elevated!
I’m very happy to say I’m not there right now, but I’m not sure many adults out of college can claim they don’t know what you7’re talking about. I hope you and your friends will get a reprieve soon. 🙂
Great post, Linda. It has been such a long, hard winter in so many ways. Here’s to the faith, strength, and support to hold on. Spring is coming!
I used to hate winter. So much that I’d get a feeling of dread around Oct and want to fly south with the swallows. But then I realised, without the winter I would not get the spring that I loved so much. Nature needs a challenge.
It’s the same with out problems and troubles. Without them we would not grow.
Struggle on, but knowing that the seeds of our creativity are made more fruitful by this winter.
I love snow but I’m ready for warmer weather! It’s time.
I think we’re all pretty much done with winter. It’s time to see some tulips or something!