|Hidden Valley Golf Course in Brandon, SD|
As I was driving home from my mom and dad's place after dinner yesterday, I was thinking about what a beautiful day it turned out to be, and it crossed my mind, as it often does in the summertime, that I need to remember this day next winter. I've been doing this for many years, now. I tell myself, "Remember how beautiful that sunset was. Remember how good you felt. Remember this heat. Remember how relaxed you felt. Remember that big, blue sky without a cloud in sight. Remember the green grass, and how you could smell the grass after someone mowed their lawn Remember that gorgeous rainbow. Remember that thunder shower. Remember this campfire. Remember how much fun you had...
Remember. Because there will be cold days when you will wish for warmth. There will be drab, gray days when you will wish for green grass and blue sky. There will be days when you don't feel so good, even days when you are lying in the hospital, wondering whether you will ever feel good again. There will be days when you are upset, worried, scared... and you will need a pleasant memory to take your mind off your troubles for a little while.
When it's five p.m. on a cold December evening, I will remember how light the sky was until almost 9:30 at the height of summer. When my steering wheel is so cold I can't touch it without gloves, I will remember that it was once so hot that I couldn't touch it until I ran the air conditioner for a while. When all I can see for miles around is white snow, brown tree trunks bereft of leaves, and a cloudy gray sky, I will recall the bright, emerald green of the grass after a summer rain, and how big the blue sky looked when all the clouds were gone. When I am walking at a snail's pace across treacherous black ice, I will remember how effortlessly I walked on dry pavement to my car, or carried the trash bag out to the Dumpster.
I sometimes remember winter during the summer, too. When I see all the places where water collects on the pavement after it rains in summer, I remember that this is where the water will freeze next winter, and I will have to go around it to avoid a fall. When I walk outside without a sweater, I recall spending 15 minutes putting on layer after layer of clothing before heading outside, even to do a simple thing like taking the garbage out. When it takes the air conditioner in my car a while to cool the car down in the summer, I remember that it also takes the heater a while to come on in the winter. When I have to stay indoors on on a stormy day or take precautions during a tornado watch, I recall that I also stay indoors during a snowstorm, and I have to take precautions in advance of a blizzard.
When I take off a sweater because I am too warm, I try to recall how good that sweater feels when I am cold. When I kick off my blankets on a hot summer night, I try to remember that those same blankets kept me snug on cold winter nights.
It's all about balance, I guess. I'm glad I live in a place where I can experience extremes of heat and cold, if only to remind myself that nothing is permanent, and I need to fully enjoy good things in the present so that I can endure tough times in the future. :-)