I used to hate summer because I could not stand the heat. I used the spend the whole summer holiday cooped up in my room reading and mostly refuse to go anywhere apart from the odd family trip. I used to love winter because I used to have a reason to make warm toast and get into bed with a jumper on and read.
So what changed? I got a life I guess. I have to leave the house whether I want to or not. So summers now are full of days and weekends away and things to do outdoors with the children every weekend. Summer means barbeques, summer holidays with the kids at home and no school run. It means gardening, long days full of warmth and light and plenty of time in between prayers to make plans to do things. Summer also means early Sunday mornings bargain-hunting at boot sales, a favourite pastime in our family.
I used to suffer in the heat, but find that despite wearing more layers (my abaya and hijab) I feel the heat less than most people who go around dressed in very little and huffing about the heat. I am convinced that this is a gift and a blessing for dressing modestly. After all Allah (SWT) does not burden us with more than we can bear.
Now that winter is here, I find myself sometimes sluggish and stiff from cold. The longer night and earlier prayer times means more sleep but that doesn’t mean I am more refreshed in the morning. I struggle to get out of bed and drag myself about my daily chores trying not to feel sorry for myself. Weekends find me looking for things to do to stop the children being cooped up inside and going crazy.
So last weekend, I knew I had to do something because it doesn’t stop being cold until about May and that feels far away right now! So I grabbed the kids and decided to brave the cold and take a cue from nature. Winter has come late here this year and it is not as cold as it is usually. The plants and trees also seem a little confused. The trees are usually bare by now, but this year the leaves are still hanging on in shades of red, gold and yellow and many floral plants are budding again.
I spent an afternoon, following the kids round the park and letting my body acclimatise to the coolness and loosen up rather than try to “brave it” and seize up as I usually do.
This winter I will go with nature, slowing down a little and sleeping a little more. I will go back to what made winter good in my childhood pleasant - lots and lots of books, curled up with Little Lady as my reading buddy and enjoying cheap chocolate bought in the January sales. I'll stop dreading snow and look forward to the magic of snowflakes drifting down and catching in your eye lashes and on your tongue with eagerness like Little Man.