There are many ways to think warm, stay warm and actually be warm in winter.
The most obvious, of course, is to get out of this country as quickly as possible.
Traveling to places such as Hawaii, Mexico, Palm Springs or Arizona all conjure up images of sand and sun, a really good book and a cool drink of something tall and delicious.
Actually, I’ve heard even Calgary might not be so bad. At least they have Chinook winds there.
I am among the select few who don’t seem destined to leave this horrible frozen expanse of land, otherwise known as central Alberta, anytime soon.
So what to do? Do I simply say, ‘suck it up, buttercup’ and get on with my day?
Or do I get as creative as possible and try to figure out ways to at least ‘think warm.’
Working out! That works, though it’s not really a desirable option to struggle through a snowstorm to get to the gym just to be able to ‘think warm.’
My daughter gave me these rather skimpy workout clothes for Christmas and in the morning when I shiver and shake myself into them, I feel like nothing more than a big bunch of trembling goose bumps. But by the time I tread on the treadmill, and perform other strenuous strength building movements that shouldn’t really be done by people who have been up for less than 10 minutes such as myself I find I am no longer shivering.
I’m hot! I’m sweaty! And, if the truth were known, I look even less presentable than I did before I arrived.
But I tell myself it doesn’t matter.
I have not allowed myself the luxury of staying in bed, which is exactly where I very much wanted to be. I’ve worked out. And I’m hot. Very hot!
Another, decidedly more pleasant activity that seems to warm up even the most desolate day, at least for me, is playing the piano.
I am the proud owner of a stately, gracious instrument that is probably more than a century old. My piano graces my living room, sitting, in all its stately glory beside a rocking chair that once belonged to my grandparents.
Just sitting at the piano seems to bring warmth to my very self, kind of like wearing my favourite old gray sweater.
And when I actually start to run my fingers over the keys, in only a few minutes I can forget about the cold, the chill, the endless snow and the raging wind.
I’m sad that my improvements on the piano don’t measure up to my own, should have been a rock star, kind of expectations.
But still even my humble attempts on the keyboard seem to warm me up and set the mood thermometer that lives in my head (or maybe in my heart) just a little higher.
And then there is the simple delight of sitting in front of a fireplace, staring mindlessly at the flickering flames.
Some people call it meditating.
I call it necessary.
Getting through the winter is not easy.
I read a quote once from someone who said ‘you never know an Evergreen is an Evergreen until the winter.’
While I don’t really like to compare myself to an Evergreen due to the fact they are all green and prickly, I like the part about being resilient enough to withstand all the seasons and come out non the less for wear on the other side.
It’s kind of like life!
Treena Mielke is editor of The Rimbey Review and writes a regular column for Black Press.