Two pairs of socks, in the mornings; a singlet top, merino jersey, fuzzy-collar zip-up sweater and a coat. Scarf and a very cute hat that always gets me compliments, and sometimes the orange chenille gloves I think I got at the Greenlake PCC nine billion years ago. Tights and boots. Three duvets on the bed and wind and rain on the way to the bus stop, both ways, every day.

I make my way through the winter slowly, cautiously. Stumping up the four flights of steps home with my grocery bags full of root vegetables, shivering a little until I can get the fire well and truly going, trying to limit myself to only four cups of tea a day. Measuring out my steps around the city, from one familiar place to the next and the next. I don’t seem to want much new or novel, lately, I don’t want any surprises. I only want to build up my savings and cook the same broccoli pasta every week. I want to check out old loves from the library or listen to them on my iPod. I want to spend a lot of time sitting and thinking.

The transition time is over, now, I guess, but I am still a little tired. Here I am, smack in the middle of it, in the middle of New Zealand in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, almost in the middle of my life and part of me keeps reminding myself during all the time I spend sitting and thinking and drinking cups of tea, milk with one sugar, please, that this is it, this is my life, there isn’t any more waiting to be done. This is what I was waiting for, and here it is, and here I am.

Sometimes I spend a little time wondering what the rest of this year, which I have dedicated to stability and to sober reflection, will bring, but not as much as you’d think. It’s as opaque as its ever been and there doesn’t seem to be much use worrying about it, as long as I keep this slightly precarious balance I’ve spent quite a bit of time and effort negotiating. I don’t want anything to upset this chilly wool-swathed equilibrium I have found. I just want to fill my hot water bottles every night, drink my hot chocolate, and settle in, settle down, pull the year’s blanket up over my shoulders and around my ears to stay as warm as I can.

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  1. Only four cups of tea a day? I could only do that if the cups were HUGE. Also, I send you big warm HUUUUUUUUUUUGS! from the land of “there had better be a thunderstorm today, what with all this heat and humidity.”

  2. “I don’t want anything to upset this chilly wool-swathed equilibrium I have found.”

    What a lovely line.

    I catch myself thinking, more and more often, that I want 2009 to be over. I can look back and say, for example, the 2008 was pretty great; 2007 ended badly. And so far? 2009 doesn’t seem so hot. Thankfully we’re 7.5 months in.

    Here’s to springtime, with bulbs pushing up their shoots and the rhubarb springing up in neglected gardens. And to summer, and my front lawn!

  3. I think it’s easier to be quiet and reflective when it’s cold. Which is why I crave the cold.
    I hope you’re not finding this winter harder than usual since you had the year of summer. And I hope your weather gets better very soon.

  4. i LOVE the word ampersand. hello :)

  5. You sound like Scott Of The Arctic. But this time sounds good, for all it’s a wee bit cold and wrapped up in blankets, so.

  6. Paolo Stermieri ( Giulia's dad )

    ” Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita “…… Dante, aptly, starts the Divina Commedia not in youth and full of energy, nor when old and wiser than ever, but right when you pause, possibly for the first time in your life and try to reconcile a balance you always eluded, so far, because of “not enough time”……. and you’re right, winter months have a way to induce you into this balance, much more so than summer, so full of activities and distractions. For when you start a fire, you’re digging into cold ashes at first, a powerful metaphore of past experiences that no longer make you smile or bring any warmth inside, but nonetheless, you dig deeper and deeper, trying to find a speckle that, when blown clean and revived with a little oxygen, will shine back at you, bringing memories of a much larger fire. Alas, this may not be the case and you’re better use a brand new match and start over, start anew, be the one that brings the flame, rather than wait to be approached by one. The fact that you value so much your delicate and much sought after equilibrium indicates you’re happy like this, right now……… but there’s room for more……… much more than hot water bottles and hot toddies……
    Hey, even the sun has its ups and downs, so don’t you worry……. those solar spots are sure to fade away….. it is a law of nature.