• Rachel Lynn Clark

The Snow and the Price of Comfort

Northeast Kyushu is cold this time of year.

Winter in Texas is in a constant state of flux. One cloudy, cold day in the 40s will often be followed by a warm day reaching into the 70s.

Living in Japan for only six months, I’m still not used to these weird things called “seasons.” What do you mean, the weather gradually changes and stays relatively consistent for a period of two or three months?! Why must I suffer through a solid three months of cold? Can’t I have at least one unseasonably-warm break?

I used to hate Texas winter roller coaster - I thought I wanted “true” winter. Sleepy, dreary, frigid, like in Thomas Kinkade paintings.

I was a fool.

At first I turned on the heat, until stories of high heating bills shocked me into turning it off. I have a kotatsu, but it’s dangerous, and not because it’s an electrical hazard. I’ve spent many evenings in its warm embrace, letting my responsibilities escape through the cracks of my drafty, poorly-insulated apartment.

The start of 2019 has come and gone, and soon January will be over. The start of a new year means a lot of problems I have yet to face. In a perfect world, coming to Japan would let me hit pause on my obligations in America - taxes, car inspections, student loan payments, the like. But this isn’t a perfect world. And the quiet of a cold winter makes the anxiety of the loose ends that need to be tied ahead of me ring loud in my mind.

It’s probably not as hard as my brain tells me it will be, but fretting is embedded in my DNA.

Luckily, I have some time between now and when it all finally needs to be done. For now, it’s too cold to worry about any of that. For now, I hibernate under the kotatsu, praying for an early spring. 

And next winter when I’m back in Texas, I won’t complain about the unseasonably-warm days.

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