Braving the Elements

I like that it gives me the chance for a fresh start with goals and organization, but other than that, January and I just don’t get along. I usually spend the month holed up inside my house whenever possible under as many blankets as possible. My students come to me, my kids walk to school, and if I catch him at just the right time, I can get my husband to stop for a few groceries on his way home from work, all so I don’t ever have to leave the house.


On New Year’s Eve, I spent some time playing with my son in the backyard and realized that winter can actually be quite lovely. The snow’s pretty, and if I wear enough layers and the conditions are just right, it can even feel pleasant. It was quiet and peaceful, and I thought to myself, “I like this! I should do this all the time!” So I added “Go Outside” to my daily job list, along with all the other chores I won’t do unless I get to check off a box as a reward. This was going to be a New Me this New Year! No more hiding out inside like a hermit!

So I made myself find things to do to get me outside, even if it was only for ten minutes a day. I walked my son to school (“Only kindergarteners need their parents to walk with them, Mom!”), shoveled the sidewalk, even hung out with the dog in the backyard.

But January just had to show off. Days of snowstorms followed by temperatures below zero, windstorms and rainstorms followed by more wind and rain. Somebody getting arrested in our front yard one night followed by reports of a mountain lion roaming the neighborhood the next day. Why would I dare to leave the house at all? It was as if January was laughing at me and doing its best to remind me that I just don’t belong outside.

Today I didn’t want to do anything but read my book under my blankets, but I had to go to a meeting. After talking myself into putting on shoes and braving the outside world one more time, I realized that, aside from the wind, it wasn’t too cold. I could do this. Then five minutes later, I found myself in the middle a freak hailstorm accompanied by strong winds and lightning. Of course.

I was driving past a pasture at the time and was alarmed to see dozens of cows, freaked out by the sudden storm, running straight at me. Of course, they turned before actually plowing through the fence and into my car, but how was I to know? I have limited knowledge when it comes to cattle. And besides, if the storm was crazy enough to make all the cows start running, why on earth had I even left my house in the first place?

I gave it my best shot these past eleven days, but January won. January always wins.


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