Mr. UT and I go for many walks. We walk in the beauty of nature, we walk to admire the man-made structures of bridges and tall buildings, we walk for lunch and snacks. While we walk, Mr. UT teaches me sounds I am hearing. He teaches me which bird calls I hear, of the city sounds of sirens, and bikes behind us!
Winter walks are special. We walk in the freezing cold snow, listening to the sounds of snow crunching, of our hard breathing. We walk when the snow is falling, listening to the quiet. We have to wear a lot of extra clothes, be careful not to slip, so when we are done walking we feel victorious!
Winter is dark, cold and hard here in Minnesota. It’s harder to drive, walk, and to get motivated to do anything. I have had a lot of winters in my life. Times of darkness, of deep depression, panic attacks, rejection from a job based on my speech, many health problems, hearing loss, death of loved ones, drinking too much, self-hate, loneliness, the list could go on.
Yet at the same time, there is a deep beauty in winter. I look back on my winters and realize all people have winters in their lives. All people struggle with something, as we are human, and there is no escaping problems. I look back and realize I had support, even if I didn’t see it at the time. Mr. UT has been with me through almost all of my winters! He always stood by my side. I had therapists and good doctors who helped me. I had friends and family.
I look back at these winters and realize how much strength and perseverance it took to carry on in spite of these dark times. I see how many family members have moved forward in life despite their winters. Friends who lost their spouses way too early, people who lost limbs, who lost children. I see how they grieve, how they cope, and how they dig deep inside and still find joy.
I learned from my winters, but I had to first take time to see them in a different light. From a light of gifts. I had to acknowledge the pain, and yet see the growth I had made. They taught me self-compassion and empathy. They taught me to reach out sooner for help. They taught me I am stronger than I think. They taught me beauty really does come from the inside. The greatest gift they taught me, was gratitude.
I know there are more winters to come. This is life. However, I also know I ask for help and support to get me though these times, and I can pass on my hope and strength to other people.
With Snow Gently Falling,
On Day 1924,