Winter came early to NYC this year. Gusts of snow flurries greeted us as we exited the subway Saturday night. The shimmering yellow leaves outside our apartment usually cast a hue of gold lasting till Christmas. Sunday I awoke to a void of color. The wind had stripped the trees bare.

This year is different. It’s not just the early winter. My world has shifted.

I feel cold

Yes, that bone chilling cold that sneaks under the winter coat, down the back, and chills the toes. It first happened before the NYC marathon. An artic blast hit the city and I headed for the park before the crowds and police.  After only half an hour without a coat, I raced home greeting John with the news. I can feel the cold!

I’ve yet to experience a chilly winter in NYC. I’ve stopped explaining when people ask why I’m out in 30-degree weather with nothing more than a sweater. When I wore a coat, I’d soon feel the trickle of sweat turn into a rushing river down my back paddling around my waist. I’d walk the streets of NYC considering appropriate ways to offer the homeless my overabundance of heat.

My girlfriends said it was menopause. Mom, always thoughtful to say what others may not point out, wondered if it was recent weight gain. John, one of the few who accepted my offer of warming his hands on my leg, believed my explanation.

Radiation

Four years ago after getting blasted with radiation for soft tissue sarcoma on my left leg, my entire body couldn’t cool down.  This wasn’t that flash of heat I hear women my age describe. This was living life at an altered temperature akin to nothing I experienced growing up in the tropics.

But now, with feeling cold, it means I’ll be able to wear those cute leg warmers, maybe even don a thermal undershirt. I can walk down the street like every other New Yorker with my wool stocking cap, gripping my coat around my neck complaining of the terrible weather to my neighbors. And best of all, I can even stop in at the decadent Jacques Torres chocolate store and get their chili spiced hot chocolate when I’m chilled to the bone.

But what it signifies most of all is that I’m alive! I can feel! I can grumble. I can be thankful. I can be happy, angry, sad, stressed, or thrilled.  All of the above and much more, because I’m alive! I can work. I can play. I can spend time with my kids, John, family, friends, and strangers!  I can simply be.  I’m alive.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful I can be cold!

How about you? What brings you to your knees in praise, this year?

Shari