February has come to a close, and soon, so too will winter. I've lived in New England long enough to know that winter will most likely pack a few more punches before all is said and done, but I like to round the months up and pretend like things are going to get better...because they will. Before this season started, I told myself I just had to get through February. I can handle March. The days get longer, the temperatures hover around 40 degrees which feels warm compared to 20, and soon enough, the crocus' will shoot out of the thawing ground and that's when you know we're back in business.
There are a few things that helped me get through this first winter back east:
1. Preparation. As you might recall, was rushing around like a mad squirrel gathering things for the months ahead. We got sandbags and shovels, candles and batteries, gloves, scarves, boots and snow pants, dog coats and paw wax...and did we really need half that stuff? Probably not. Certainly not in September when I started gathering it all. But I can't help if I'm oddly calmed by unnecessary preparation.
2. Gummy Vitamin C. I'm serious. Vitafusion makes orange flavored adult gummy vitamin C you can get at places like Target. I never forget to take my vitamins when they taste like candy. Not only are these things delicious, but I'm pretty sure they have worked some kind of miracle on my immune system. I used to get every cold that people within a 10-foot radius of me had, and (knock on wood) I didn't get sick once this winter. Either drinking bacteria-filled water in California and Gloucester has made me immune to larger bacteria and viruses, or these little suckers work better than the H1N1 vaccine, and the bonus is that eating gummy vitamins is much more pleasant than getting a shot in the arm.
3. Efforts to Embrace Winter. I don't know if I'll ever fully embrace this time of year, but I can tolerate it. Having a dog helped get us outside for walks, and exercise helps the heart and mind. We also had a good time snow-shoeing and yak-tracking in Ravenswood Park. I even tried to be "happy" about shoveling snow because it was a chance to beef up my pathetic arm muscles.
It's the little things that help me get through winter. It's not quite over and sometimes the home stretch can be the most painful because you know you're so close, but I'm just banking on the fact that we are close.