Ode to the Common Winter Coat

The wise women and men tell us that we can create our own weather.

Internal weather, that is.

I’m not there yet. But I can tell you that my favorite way to create warmth in the cold is nothing more than the humble winter coat.

As the hearty New England parents like to tell their young children, There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing choices.

Despite our ceiling fans and window a/c units, our furnaces and heat pumps, human hands have no control over the skies and no choice over the temperature.

But where we do have control and where we do have choice is the winter coat that we wear.

Mine is pine needle green. It goes from my neck to my knees and is stuffed with down. In the ruthless Maine winters, it is a June day inside that coat. Or at least a May one.

And more than the sleep I get or the food I eat, this coat influences my mood. Without it, my lips are blue, my body is squeezed up, and I want people to hurry up; I transfer my crummy weather to them. With it, I’m more patient and certainly kinder. If my body is warmer, my mood is warmer; perhaps, too, I transfer my warmer weather to those I see and touch.

We can invest plenty of energy complaining about the rain, the chill, the ice - I certainly have. And it’s an investment that’s never yielded many returns.

Or we can invest a little time and a little money and create our own microclimate.

Life serves us much we don’t have control over or choice in. The small bucket of things we can control and choose - let’s maximize on that. For our own warmth and well-being, but also for the warmth and well-being of those we see and touch.

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