Snow has a magical feeling to it.
There’s so many memories associated with the beautiful winter months of my childhood. Snow forts. Sledding. The excitement of seeing a fresh set of deer tracks across the yard. Sipping hot chocolate after shoveling.
It was only a few years ago when my coworkers looked at my child like wonder of being back up North where it snowed. I couldn’t wait to get off work and make snow angels.
It was like a scene from Gilmore Girls, looking up at the sky exclaiming that I can smell the snow coming.
But in 2 1/2 years, all the wonder and thrills has long left.
Being home in the South as my condition progressed kept a lot of my symptoms at bay, while giving me the freedom to actually enjoy illness from underneath palm trees.
I wrote back in May, upon arriving in the North Woods, about the impact of extreme heat and extreme cold. (You can read that post here.) Little did I know that as the last of the snow melted, I would only have four short months of a Spring-Summer-Fall combination.
Those four months, as busy as they were, documented a minimal progress with migraines, and a deterioration with the new presentation of arthritis.
By early August – a month I remember being the hottest when I was younger in Southern Wisconsin – the temperatures had already begun dipping into the low 40’s causing me to transition my plants inside earlier than I anticipated.
As August shifted to September, the leaves put on a beautiful show. Temperatures pivoted back and forth from chilly winds to warm afternoons.
This quiet October morning however, brought us our first snow.
I’ve been expecting it, as the severe, ice pick, interrupt your entire life, migraine pain has begun making itself at home across my temples and eyes.
The last few mornings, I’ve woken up with stiff, throbbing hands that ache as I stretch them out. There’s a small burning fire in my right pointer finger’s knuckle.
In small bursts, surely this is manageable. But the cause for concern is that the warmer temperatures only stuck around for four months, meaning an eight month long winter could surely be upon us.
I’m concerned about how my body will respond to a lack of sunlight. My photophobia certainly has returned to which I’m thankful to have my Allay Lamp so I can have some light. But the cold, harsh light of the snow and grey skies does me no favors.
I’m concerned with the way the climate has changed, the weather may not reach a level of consistency. As it relates to my migraines, I’m well aware its the strong fluctuations of weather – storm fronts, temperature changes, and heavy winds – that cause the spike in pain. The transition from Fall to Winter is the hardest, and with the arrival of snow so early, it’s hard to predict how long the transition will last.
I don’t fully understand the arthritis. I think the cold in general is not good for it, just as installing floors and beating the crap out of my hands was not good for it. But I don’t understand this disease, nor do I want to discover what lengthy periods of cold mean.
With the pandemic surging in our local area and the temperatures forcing people inside, there’s also an uneasy feeling that the long winter will be one potentially spent in total isolation.
The prospect of isolation, on top of the isolation we’ve had since March, combined with the potential for extreme pain much of the time seems rather grim.
It was different last year, the “cold” only lasted a few weeks in the south and for a single week I was bound to my couch. But when it passed, even with a few chilly night, there were still friends and family to be seen. I could still escape to the beach, or sit cozied up on my porch with a book.
I don’t want to expect that I’ll be fully bound to my couch. I want to be able to tend to my plants. Learn how to cook new and exciting meals. Especially a variety of soups. Create art and explore new projects. Finish the various renovation projects for the new house.
But waking up today, the multiple sources of searing pain, and the snow covered earth has me concerned.
As I’m prepping my Boston ferns to go dormant and be overwintered inside, I’m wondering why people never evolved to go through dormancy as well.