While scrolling Facebook, I saw a Fowl Language comic that depicted "the two stages of winter." The comic described December as a "magical wonderland of lights," and the rest of the season as "a cold, gray, bucket of suck."
Said bucket of suck is currently dumping snow, ice, and hatred upon the streets of Indianapolis, and has been since yesterday. Last night, while carrying the Christmas tree back out to the garage—and nearly dropping an ovary in the process—I slipped on the ice. By desperately flailing my arms in a windmill-like fashion, I managed to stay upright until—Wham! My feet flew up and my back hit the ground. I lay there for several moments, regaining my breath and cursing the snow, ice, and hatred that bled through my coat and jeans. My fall was similar to those seen in Home Alone, except in my version of the beloved classic, there are less tarantulas and plenty of toothbrushes approved by the American Dental Association.
Okay, so, January has been a little unpleasant so far. We've had, I believe, just two days of clear skies since the month started. (Because nothing says "Happy New Year" like gloom, doom, and seasonal affective disorder.) But December? I'll have to agree with the comic; it was pretty magical.
A few days after Christmas, I invited friends Lizzy and Raina to "Christmas at the Zoo," an annual event held at the Indianapolis Zoo. According to the zoo's website, the Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the United States to feature a holiday lights event. (The zoo started the event in 1967, just three years after it opened.) Since I had acquired a few free passes, I thought it would be fun to head across the river and admire the twinkling glow of lights.
It was cold that night, too, and windy. Fourteen degrees, tops. We were bundled in hats, scarves, and gloves, and, beneath our jeans, we wore leggings and two pairs of socks. Oh, it was cold. It was cold and crisp and my nose ran and my fingertips went numb and I didn't care because the zoo was beautiful. It twinkled and sparkled and flashed, and we laughed at the playfulness of the penguins and sea lions. We spied on sleeping orangutans. We paused at a light display that resembled a hot dog stand and wondered, "Why? Why a hot dog stand?" ("Why not a hot dog stand?") We allowed our frozen toes to thaw in the conservatory and said, repeatedly, "It's so stunning! Everything is so amazing!" And we reveled, childlike, in the magic of it all.