The windchill is 15. I have just opened up my house.
One of my wonderful writing mates, Shirah, now emails from Jerusalem. Recently she mentioned the custom of the daily airing. No matter how cold or wet the morning, windows fly open in her neighborhood and the day starts with new air in the house. Really! I was of the stuffier mind that we waited until that first mild spring day to air out.
Now every morning I turn down the heat and open my house. Cold air can’t wait to get inside and warm up, so in it rushes. In about five minutes, I feel a difference, not in mere chill but in some subtle clarity.
Long ago, my co-worker Nina, a recent immigrant from Moscow, spoke in her satiny Russian accent of winter mornings there. When she breathed in the snap of that cold, she said, she “knew she was alive.”
Knowing I am alive. Clarity. Airing out. My new morning ritual has meaning.
This morning we have freezing fog. The screens around the porch are gauzy with it. It sticks to everything, whitening the world into something lighter, more bearable. To look out and wonder at such air is nothing new. To invite it in is.
I do not want to make this into some shmaltzy metaphor. I just want to state that this is happening when I must face the changes of age and determine how to live with them. Will I be guided by what others think or will I have an original plan for me? Will I have Shirah’s and Nina’s courage for newness? What is in this airing out? Right now I have no idea.