We’re preparing for our first Boston winter, which by definition will be longer and harder than anything I’ve faced in Texas, and contain more snow than my two winters in Oxford (which were cold and wet, but it rarely snows there). I’m pulling out my soup recipes, making lots of hot drinks, keeping an eye on our heating-oil tank and buying a few extra warm garments. And I’m doing another thing: following Ma Ingalls’ advice in The Long Winter, right before the blizzards set in:
It was beautiful Indian summer. Frosts came every night and sometimes a light freeze, but all the days were sunny. Every afternoon Laura and Mary took long walks in the warm sunshine, while Carrie played with Grace near the house.
“Get yourselves full of sunshine while you can,” Ma said. “It will soon be winter and you’ll have to stay indoors.”
Out in the bright soft weather they were storing up sunshine and fresh air, in themselves, for the winter when they would not have any.
That last line has echoed in my head on every sunny or even semi-sunny day, as I slip on a jacket and head out to run errands or wander around the city or sit on Boston Common with a cup of tea. I’m soaking up the golden leaves, the play of light on the grass and sidewalks, the last soft breezes before winter bears down. I’m storing up this sunshine and warmth and fresh air, for the dreary winter days when I’ll hole up indoors, drinking tea and piling on layers and wishing and hoping for spring.