Winter doldrums. So many bare-branched trees in my apartment complex, all the same dun shade. If I could transform them, I would take my box of crayons outside and add some color to those branches. Nature beat me to it with a tree I never knew existed until now (not that I ever claimed to know every tree in existence). But, wow, how spectacular are these trees? How would you like to walk outside and see them in your yard…or along the sidewalk…or maybe everywhere?
More amazing pictures here. You’ll swear these trees are painted. And check out the video:
With the arrival of the winter solstice last week, I needed to choose a new keyword for the next three months. The first (and last) time I chose a keyword for a season, I did it without putting much thought into it. Velocity came to me immediately, and so did the accompanying theme song, Glad Tidings by Van Morrison. Somewhere along the way, I realized that focusing on velocity without having first determined my direction was like sending a driverless race-car speeding 100+ miles per hour along a track. Nothing good was likely to come of it. So I paused to set a couple of goals.
This time, I wasn’t quite so hasty. I discarded my first choice of keyword, focus, when I realized focus is one of those things that repeatedly gets me into trouble. I don’t usually have difficulty focusing. On the contrary, what I have difficulty with is stepping back and loosening the reins of my focus. Sometimes circumstances change, you know? But I’m nothing if not persistent, so it often takes me a while to notice and then to back off or switch gears.
What I came up with for my winter keyword is buoyant. If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I really dislike winter. I dislike the cold temperatures, the noisy furnace, the layers of clothing, the short days, the gray skies, and the snow (when we get it). Winter feels heavy and oppressive to me. If I could wear shorts, sandals, and a T-shirt year around, I would. It takes temperatures hovering around 100 degrees before I comment on the heat. I’ve hiked the Sandia foothills in the mid-afternoon in the mid-90s. You just have to slather on the sunscreen, wear a hat, take plenty of water, and try not to run a marathon out there.
So the three months between December 21st and March 21st are my least favorite of the year—a trial to get through. This year I’m going to try a different tactic by attempting to lighten up, loosen up, and be a little more cheerful. Along with cheerful, lively, and sprightly, a few other synonyms for buoyant are:
All good stuff, but it gets even better because buoyant also means:
Since I’m working on a new venture right now, this sense of the word buoyant is ideal for that, too. The third definition of buoyant refers to being light and able to float on water. Large bodies of water and I are not friends, so although I love this concept, it’s a little edgy for me. But that’s OK; a little edginess never hurt anyone. And light is the opposite of heavy, which is good.
The search for a theme song also took longer this time than it did before. A lot of songs came close, but none of them hit exactly the right note. Then I came across this one by, of all people, the Moody Blues, from To Our Children’s Children, and it’s perfect.
Floating free as a bird
Sixty foot leaps, it’s so absurd
From up here you should see the view
Such a lot of space for me and you
Oh, you’ll like it
Gliding around, get your feet off the ground
Oh, you’ll like it
Do as you please with so much ease
Now I know how it feels
To have wings on my heels
I confess to having owned several Moody Blues albums way back when, but I don’t think I had this one. And I probably wouldn’t have chosen this song for one of my playlists in the normal course of events. But the purpose of choosing a keyword is to aim my attention in a different direction, to consider things from a different perspective, and to get out of my usual mindset. In this case, to be more buoyant!
Do you have a keyword for winter? If so, please share it.