Well folks, here we are in the thick of it again. Hello Old Man Winter.
I shouldn’t be surprised. I really don’t even have much room to complain, as I have spent the majority of my life in California—a state famous for its mild, green “cold” season. And now here I am in Texas, where it gets ridiculously and painfully cold, damp and windy, but only in short spells, broken up by pleasantly sunny days. But, no matter, the fact is that I don’t like winter and I’m trudging through our busiest season, one pack of cotton roping gloves at a time.
We made it through the holidays and are on to the bustle and grind of a new year. Around my outfit, day-to-day life is filled to the brim with cold-backed colts needing a consistent start and a weather pattern that wants us to do anything but. The days are short and filled with tasks, jobs and projects. Our cattle sit at the fence and complain to us about the dry feed. And the leafless, lifeless branches of our otherwise mighty oak trees bring a spooky element to cloud-covered mornings. And when the sun does peak out and show its mighty rays, our horses quickly find a sandy place to stretch out and soak up the warmth.
I don’t mean to sound like a complainer. In my younger days, when I was in harsh and wind-whipping eastern Colorado, winter was merely a nuisance. I would bundle up and ride, oblivious to the elements. I don’t remember feeling despair about single digits—in fact, the windchill was almost amusing at times. But now that I’m a bit older (and perhaps wiser?), I move one chilly foot in front of the other, dreaming of April temperatures.
A lot of animals have the right idea. They store up their food, find a cozy place to settle in and wait out the season. In truth, I think that’s sort of what we are supposed to do, too. Instead of stressing about gifts, family get-togethers, taxes and unruly colts, these cold short days are supposed to be a time for us to power down. Take a breath. Prepare for a productive and prosperous year ahead.
It may be a little too late for me this year. I filled my schedule full and have been trying to fit as much work and productivity as possible into these short days. But moving forward, I encourage all of us to embrace the season and ease up a little on all the tasks that aren’t totally necessary. Do your work, but find your time to rest, too. Take note from the animals and embrace these cold, dark days and use (at least a part of) winter as a time to recharge for all of the great things ahead of us in the warmer days.
And if you do find a day when the warm sun breaks through those dreary clouds, don’t be afraid to stretch out and soak it up a little, too.