“It felt like springtime on this February morning…”
After a brief flirtation with winter, the usual springy Portland February has resumed. I was surprised how happy it made me when I stepped out of the house Tuesday morning to find temps in the 40s, a warmish breeze blowing, and the last remnants of slush melting away. I enjoyed our Big Snow Event (who doesn’t love a snow day?), but after just five days of winter weather, I was glad to get back to normal. No doubt about it, my twelve years in Portland have made me soft; I wouldn’t last long in the kind of unrelenting Midwest winters I endured for the first three decades of life.
Our little flirtation with a winter emergency did give me a chance to indulge in one of my favorite sentiments, gratitude. Winter brings it out in me like no other season–after struggling through snow and ice, shivering at bus stops or white-knuckle driving, when I finally get there, home feels like HOME. It reminds me I’m lucky to have a warm place to get out of the weather; lucky to have a key to a safe place that I can go to any time I want; lucky to share the space with a person who is as much emotional refuge to me as the house is physical refuge.
Gratitude is one of the best emotions to witness, too. Two of my favorite recent Facebook posts were all about being grateful for what is: my niece commented about realizing she’s truly rich, because her little family of three is healthy and happy; and my college roommate, a busy mother of two, wrote about her gratitude for a long list of sweet domestic moments. I’m happy for you when you triumph at work, or your kid wins an award, or you have a great vacation or an excellent night out; of course I am. And I absolutely encourage you to strive for that next marker of success you’re reaching for, whatever it may be. But I’m happiest for you when you’re taking a minute to be happy about all you already have and are.