“I am a timber-wolf, dark and violent.” He said, he being me. “I am a wolf, lone and vengeful.” Such are things I said as a brooding teenager treading through the snow drifts after shoveling the driveway. Winter has always been a favorite season. But when I got a little older, I thought of myself as a bear: burly and with a hardened Russian spirit. “I am a grizzly bear, ferocious and powerful.” He said, he being me. “I am a bear, loyal and unflinching.” And I love salmon. It works out.
There are more concrete reasons that I like winter: snowboarding, wearing sweaters, thick and hearty soups, the sound of howling wind over snow, the feeling of needing a beard. When I used to nurse the urge to nurture my darker side, a beautifully involved feeling of desolation would wash over me: the abyssal cold twisting nature like no other season.
Early in school, I liked marching around in boots, feeling like I was part of some unified force when I didn’t feel a part of the scene; winter was stark enough for that lonely hope, one I thankfully don’t carry anymore. That feeling went away quickly in the latter half of high school, but the quiet and wonder that winter brings, remained.
“I am a sea lion, ork orking, laughing, flapping my tail, warm when others are not. Am I a fish or a mammal?” Yes, a sea lion. Everyone likes sea lions. And they’re group animals. With whiskers. Like me. See, I’m addicted to people, and the winter has some great holidays of coming together. Chanukah, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, families and friends huddled around a fire. Treats in abundance. Fine teas satisfying. If I could be reincarnated as a non-human animal… a sea lion. The beast of ice floes that makes a comical throaty call, yet can bite when it needs to. Have you ever wanted to be a sea lion? What winter animal would you be? What word best describes winter for you?