Like many Wisconsin children in the 1930s and 40s, I loved winter. We would race home from school, scarf down some hot cocoa and cookies, put on a few extra layers, and go outside to build snow forts or bombard each other with snowballs. In the depths of winter, it would be almost dark by the time we quit and went inside to hang our wet wool snowsuits on a steam radiator to dry. (Oh, the aroma of wet wool heating up!)
I recall several occasions where I realized I was getting sick and could feel a fever rising in my body. Thinking the outdoor cold would squelch the flu bug (or whatever), I’d avoid mentioning how I felt to my very solicitous mother, and stay outside as long as I could stand my hot cheeks and shivering self before going indoors and allowing myself to be put to bed with hot lemonade and honey.
(“Sick” was no joke in pre-penicillin days when front doors of homes frequently sprouted warning signs such as: Scarlet Fever, Diptheria, Measles, etc. Children were put to bed when they had a fever, no matter what!)
What in the world does all this nostalgia have to do with THE MESSY PALETTE? Simply this: Now I am 83 years old and I no longer LOVE winter! I have become a WUSS! Granted, snow is beautiful. In fact, I actually go out and tramp around in the first couple of snowfalls. But in recent years winter has gotten old very fast. By March, when I’ve wanted to peel off layers of clothing and renew my store of solar energy, I have found the snowy cold weather to be absolutely annoying.
Now, suddenly, I am tired of being such a WUSS! I have some really fun and funky leggings and tights, and a drawer full of lovely, colorful sweaters. I can dress like a clown. And I’m psyching myself up for winter with my paints. Case in point is the above sample titled “Winter Sunrise.”
Determined to put a positive spin on the days ahead, I have created a Three Pronged Plan: 1) putting on another sweater when the indoor temperature drops to 70 or 68 degrees, rather than bumping the thermostat to 75; 2) staying outdoors longer each time I need to take my beloved corgi out to do his jobs; and 3) the aforementioned—celebrating winter with my paints.
Sometimes old geezers* go into a second childhood mode. Since our corgi Dylan LOVES to roll in the snow, maybe I’ll start rolling with him. 🙂
Margaret L. Been – 10/1/16
*Yes, I know. The expression “old geezers” is certainly not politically correct. Yikes! Who cares? Anyway, I can use the label because I am one! And proud of it!