The first major snowstorm and the winter solstice have passed. Many gray days and long nights await us. Although I enjoy the winter and its allowance to stay home and nest, I know that the next few months will prove to be difficult.
Just like most Americans, I’m searching for simple comforts and reliable pastimes to maintain a positive — albeit strained — frame of mind. Here are a few things that have helped me as of late:
- A room with a view: I’m writing this post at my desk looking onto our my small backyard. A few birds peck at the snow. A wrapped fig tree stands vigil.
- Holiday food: We try to keep the larder stocked with Christmas treats (cookies, apples, oranges, even chestnuts) befitting a scene from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
- Plenty of books: I recently finished Scott Peeples’s The Man of the Crowd, a biography of Edgar Allan Poe and cities; Jason Diamond’s The Sprawl, a reflection on suburbia; and Lionel Shriver’s The Mandibles, an eerily prescient novel. Now, I’m walking through historic New York with the late Pete Hamill’s Downtown. As always, my reading pile is growing.
- Films and television: Cold nights are perfect for losing oneself in stories on the screen. This December, I enjoyed David Fincher’s Mank, a character study of the talented, yet self-destructive writer Herman Mankiewicz and the new season of The Crown. Of course, I’m also immersing myself in Christmas favorites, specifically Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas.
I hope that you’re finding what aids (and maybe enlivens) you through the next several months and I wish you and your loved ones a safe and healthy holiday season.
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