As I emerged from the muggy underground train stop and up into the frigid air of one of Boston’s most notorious streets, everything felt ridiculously eerie. It had been years since I had walked on those sidewalks, the old stomping grounds of a former me.
Days before I impulsively upped my flight and ran away jumped on a plane, eager to find rest and peace in the city that felt most like home. And that I did.
I’ve recently come to terms that cold temperatures have interesting effects on us humans. Looking at the last places I had left footprints behind (Florida, Hawaii, California), the pattern rang true: whatever I was searching for, I tried doing it away from the cold. I needed the sun, the beach, palm trees and laid back locals. But warm weather has this strange way of making life hazy, distorting reality into a dream, a place that you’re amazed exists while forgetting everything else.
I’ve witnessed a fair share of visionary sunsets, magnificent in colors, stunning us speechless. But the truth is that sunsets are just beautiful treats; their sole purpose is to be enjoyed.
Escaping the daze of perfect weather and Instagram-worthy settings, the moment I landed, I woke up. I had induced myself into a glorious dream in order to overlook the shadows that still lived within me.
The funny thing about dreams is that as soon as your brain comes to term that what is happen is in fact, only a dream, the sleepy hallucination thus loses its appeal. A week later as I flew back to the life I was pushing away created for myself, there was no other way to describe my mind but as “woke”.
Needless to say, life began to look a whole lot different. The more I tried to cling onto the nomadic fantasy I loved chasing, the harder my heart hurt for the idea of home. Through the eyes of this lost girl, sunsets started to be a painful reminder of the tremendous illusion that is Neverland. I knew the end was near.
I cried for days and days as I slowly said goodbye to the little things I would miss. I cried over the friendships I would leave behind. I cried over the freedom of my newfound independence. I cried over the experiences that I had yet to experience but were on my list. I cried over the necessary events that broke my heart but that I was extremely thankful for. Like the cartoonish blue pup with a wondrous imagination, I had “skadooed” into a lovely painted picture and now it was time to leave.
Sitting on that final plane flying over familiar cities and reminiscing about romantic locations where most only dare to lust after, the heaviest belongings in the air that day were not my swollen suitcases but instead the immense fragments of my shattered heart.
At first, being back felt as if I had managed to wander into yet another illusion. Call it denial or just stark shock, but for a couple of weeks, my brain piloted as it would do so automatically, in an ordinary temporary setting. I was carefree, witty, and hopeful. This is just a short retreat, I fed myself. I’m just here to recuperate my vitals until the next big thing shows up.
But as the days grew bleaker and my social life shrunk lower, the harsh truth pierced deeper into my mind. There were no magical white rabbits for me to chase anymore. “Lunging into trippy tunnels” was a career fading fast from my resume. Trying to find a stray path to run off to was becoming a fictional tale. The only way out, I finally concurred, was up, and the only way to do so was to go down; to grow roots.
The supernatural gift, or curse, that cold weather exemplifies is the ability to make us feel pain. When we find ourselves immersed in a frigid climate, shockwaves run throughout our body and into our brain sending the message that, this fricking sucks. Find a warmer place, quickly.
As every fiber in our being screams for us to run, it is the cold that challenges us to stay. The cold is uncomfortable, to say the least. It’s not made for those without a thick skin. It lacks daylight and vibrancy. It shortens encounters and interrupts our plans. It can scar us in more ways than one.
But amidst those warning signs, it is in fact, in the cold that lavender sunrises glow. It’s in the cold that the sun, in those rare days, makes its presence blindingly known to us. Where the manifestation of falling snow miraculously stills, if for only a moment, our restless world. It’s when snowflakes latch on to your window, causing your eyes to widen as you realize that each and every one of those crafted dots are astoundingly unique. And where haziness once prevailed, the cold has a way of stringing it with clarity.
These days, though I find myself tentatively trekking through familiar stomping grounds, no longer pining after sunsets but instead pausing for sunrises, there is an incredible peace doing housekeeping within me and tossing out past shadows. No longer scavenging for charming rabbit holes, but learning to follow the path where the sun shines upon. Where I once dreaded the northern wind, I now welcome it with open arms.
The tides have turned, the temperatures have dropped, and so have my roots. Let the growing process begin.