Winter has come and humbled me.

And if I’m being honest, it arrived months ago. I’ve just been too busy learning how to dress myself to finish this blog post.

Last year’s winter seduced me, made me fall in love with the city under false pretenses: mild snow flurries, steam coming from the steam grates, up and around my downtown apartment, towering buildings blocking the winter wind.

It’s different now. Colder. And still, some say this winter errs on the side of mild, too. Layer! they say. It’s all about layering. Until a month ago, the only layers I owned were coffee-shop-hoppin, errand-runnin, maybe-I-can-manage-a-morning-run-then-get-back-in-bed layers. My grown-up life demands different layers now: we-know-it’s-cold-but-you-still-have-to-work layers, its-not-too-cold-to-make-it-to-class-Michelle! layers, and gloves. I need several pairs of gloves, apparently.

Even after I began understanding layers, it took me more than thirty minutes just to get dressed on those especially cold mornings. I figured out that I could wear tights, then leggings, then work pants with boots on the bottom, and then a tank, button down, sweater, thicker sweater, on top with the added coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. (Louisiana, I am not kidding. I was wearing all of that at once.) I was so proud of myself that I wasn’t even that dismayed that I looked like an adolescent boy. I did, however, cry when I realized I’d forgotten to put on deodorant and could no longer lift my arms because of all the layering.  I had undress and start over.

The next morning was better.

*WRITER’S NOTE:

This is the first piece in a new blog mini-series on winter. There will be more small blogs on my experience and observations this winter as we transition to the long-awaited Spring. Please feel free to post your own winter experiences in the comments. And bundle up. It’s cold outside.

(The title of this post is from Emily Dickinson’s poem that begins, “The sky is low, the clouds are mean.” I’m currently working with this poem and others on Winter to complete my first handmade book.)