Kathleen Clary Miller has written 300+ columns and stories for periodicals both local and national, and has authored three books. She lives in the woods of the Ninemile Valley, thirty miles west of Missoula.
I know; it’s only the middle of February. What right do I have to be so over winter? But if you don’t engage in winter sports or prefer black and white to color, how do you ignore the fact that it’s been gloomy-skied and snowing since the first part of November?
A good day during Montana’s long winter is when I have too many crossword puzzles to solve, I am seeing too much dog hair so that I have to vacuum yet again, or I need to take persistent phone calls from family. I’ve cleaned all the closets; I can’t donate any more or I’ll have nothing left but underwear. I’ve taken toothpicks to the tight edges of faucets and light switch plates, and I’ve polished the stovetop until it glistens like an engagement ring. Why save all that purposeful cleansing for spring when the sun might shine during that season?
My neighbor is amazed that I sleep until 9:00 in the morning. Why rise with the birds when even they are still silent? She cross-country skis, snowshoes, and drives from The Ninemile to Missoula no matter what the treacherous conditions. I’ve already rocketed off I-90 going 65 miles an hour into a snow bank and miraculously survived. I know how to simply be grateful and not tempt fate.
That leaves me with a serious case of cabin fever by this time in February. Yesterday I stood on the front porch during a break in the storm attempting to bask under a rare patch of blue sky the size of a quilting square. Within minutes, it was stolen from me, shrouded in darkness by the seasonal thick cloud cover. But that glorious hue held hope, right? There is sky there… somewhere?
My eyeballs need a rest from reading, my brain needs a break from puzzling, and my back aches from washing my floorboards until they gleam. I’ve even scrubbed the dog wash. So what’s a body to do until the end of March, when she might have the good fortune to see the light?
Abide. The Dude abides, as fellow fans of the movie “The Big Lebowski” appreciate. Wait patiently for those proverbial brighter days ahead. And while you are waiting? Meditate on the blue, not the blues.