I’ve decided it’s not the dresses themselves that catch my eye whenever I walk past Miranda’s Verandah in downtown Keene, but the light emanating from those dresses. On these dark days of December, when all my dog-walks are frigid and most happen in darkness, I can’t imagine myself wearing something short, sleeveless, and frilly…but I can imagine myself aglow with an inner fire, my soul smoldering within me like a torch.

I’ve quickly become re-accustomed this year to winter dog-walking, which is good given how often Reggie needs to go outside these days. Already it seems like an old habit to throw on my long down coat; grab my keys, a flashlight, and a few poop-scoop bags; and stroll around my neighborhood in a hat, scarf, and warm winter boots at all hours of night and day. Even when temperatures are in the teens, you quickly acclimate to the cold if you’re actually walking in it, versus watching the thermometer from inside. Your inner fire burns brighter and fiercer, and you give up fighting against the cold and simply relax into it instead. There’s no need to rush an old dog, and no need to fight the cold. Inside the shelter of your own skin and its protective layers, your life-light kindles and shimmers brighter than any star in the brilliant-black winter sky.

I wrote a similarly titled post almost exactly one year ago today, rekindling an age-old theme.