I'm never ready for winter. While I yearn for three seasons during the others, all year long I dread winter. I dread the snow and the ice and the arthritis in my hands and feet flaring up for months on end. Sometimes at night I pray that God will eventually see fit to send me somewhere warm, but I keep ending up in places that are wrapped in white tinsel for nine months of the year.
My prayers will continue to focus on an Indian summer sneaking up on us in late September, but in the meantime I am mentally preparing myself for the first snowfall anytime this week.
I wore my flipflops today and a too big sweater, but I refused a coat and a decent pair of socks. My last protest against the winter went as well as most of my protests do. The foot-prisons are coming.
And Valya, with her big coat and floppy artists' hat led the technicians and Olya with her short hair and cute beanie hat stepped to the front of the crowd and welcomed everyone to the film festival. Rain cancelled the center square venue, but it was just as well to sit on the large porch of the palace of arts and generate electricity by bicycle. How hipster is a bicycle powered film festival, right?
It seems that hundreds of hipsters line the porch with their oversized glasses and ill-fitting clothes. You can only tell genders by beards or lack of beards. That's the trend these days. And the movies are delightfully quirky and the bicycles are restored antiques and the wine is warmed with exotic spices - and everything is so perfect. I wish that autumn could be suspended in time and last forever. The sights, the smells, the conversations.
And the night ended in the Indian restaurant around spicy curries and flat breads. Nikita almost died a year ago from massive head trauma, but all that remains is a slight slur of words. Yura looks like the boy scout that he is. The conversation flies from topic to topic. Seagull, cameraman, organizational - these are the words that I learned in Ukrainian over dinner, these were the only words that I didn't know. It's at some point between the spicy soup and the spicy lamb that I am simply struck by the beauty of everything - by the scars from Mikita's multiple brain surgeries, by the grammar and vocabulary forcibly stuffed into my head, by the common grace of sitting around a table and enjoying something out of the usual.
I read someone's wall post encouraging the YOLO attitude that defines my generation that used to be packaged as carpe diem and defined generations before mine, and I was struck by the simplicity of it. Don't have regrets. If it was good it was good, if it was bad it was experience. And I'm not there yet. I'm not a YOLOer by any means, but I am struck by how often fear keeps us from new experiences.
And I still won't be ready for winter in time. It will still surprise and befuddle me, but I think I'm going to stay warmer this year. I'm going to keep people close and share in new experiences and laugh too loud and drink mulled cider more often. I'm going to wear whatever sweater I want, and not apologize for showing up to the university dressed like a homeless person.
I'm going to survive this winter. I'm going to thrive this winter.