First came the snow. Has winter ever had another order? It fell softy at first, in pillowy tufts of white against a black and constellated night sky. But in winters' temptress ways, the winds shifted, and as the night ticked on, the snow started to pile high. Quickly, my yard went from a frozen, flat plane to a mountainous field that was both beautiful and unsettling all at once.
Then, like a chained beast who stamps his feet in arrival as if to say I am here! (as if his immensity weren’t enough), the clock chimes. It echoes through the dark house like a ricochet of earplay, sounding loud as the snow is silent; impossibly so, on both their ends. I count on my fingers, expecting the peal to stop sooner than it does. One, two, three; twelve... It is twelve; the summit of the clock, the witching hour, the start of the ‘small hours’ that really aren’t that small at all, the crux of midnight.
Tonight (or morning, what have you), the moon is high; tall as the chained beast who stamps his feet. Snow pounds down in fat flakes, cascading to and fro like ricochet. One, two, three…I run out of fingers, then toes, then limbs, and then not even the hairs on my head, that warm my face in the cold, that once seemed so thick and great, can amount to the nebulous ash that plummets down.
Sigh. Is this the face of winter? No, it can't be, it shouldn't be, it truly isn't. I know this, because I counted the chimes myself. Midnight is here, March is here. I counted my way through February, in hopes that this white infinity would disappear. But these snowflakes, I cannot count, not even with the hairs on my head. The beast who has broken loose, stamped his feet, and shaken the world into snowfall. The clock strikes again, but only once; a single, resilient reminder that I need to rest, and that staring at the snow will not make it stop. I sigh again, and pack up for the night. I can only hope.
Winter blares, even in the face of March and this curse of snow has me going a bit crazy, as curses will. I’ve been smothering Cosette dressed warmly in her honeycomb fur, dressing myself like a little eskimo, huddling under bounds of blankets to read cookbooks by phone light, and drinking more than a commonsensical amount of tea, which only provide a petty mouthful of warmth and leave me over-caffeinated. I’m very conscious of the fact that this cycle may not be the most healthful. But I rest my case in saying that, if the weathers’ daily routine can be amok as it is, then at least for the time being, mine can, too.
My fingers tap; always anxious, always stamping. One, two, three… they tap. I am impatient, and I cannot wait for spring to come.
Luckily there are things like peanut butter to hold me together during times like these. Creamy peanut butter, ruby rich pomegranate, fat grains of oatmeal; all hearty ingredients that keep my mind at ease, my stomach satisfied, and the cold at bay. In one bowl, they complement each other to a T. Crunchy and crisp pomegranate arils and thick peanut butter jive along to that irresistible sweet-and-salty tune (which I’m a sucker for playing), while balancing on the edge of light and hearty. Toasting the oats only brings it further. Toasting is a method that originally appeared here on its’ own. Ever since, I’ve become smitten with this alternative method, and have been using it on a regular basis. Of course, if you don’t want to toast the oats, you don’t have to in order for this breakfast to work. But, I do recommend it, as it truly takes both oatmeal and peanut butter + jelly to whole new cosmos. If we were to call this the grown-up version of the sandwich, toasting the oats is what brings it over this hill. Or, on a more agreeable note for some, this method can be considered oatmeal’s sweet sixteen; all of a sudden, they’re all grown up, beyond their simple and innocent childish ways, and just begging for your attention.
This oatmeal is not one of limit. Take everything you thought you knew about the brick-and-mortar peanut butter and jelly, and turn it on its head- all the childhood memories of the dreaded elementary school cafeteria lunches, sticky finger and dry, doughy mouths, and secret spoonfuls of peanut butter. Dispose of it all to make way for something new, fresh, and (dare I say?) better. Let your tastes sway with the seasons, and use the changes and variety to your advantage. Come spring, this will be lovely with berries and homemade jams. For now, however, pomegranates have all the punch I need. Peanut butter is easily replaceable by butters of other varieties. A handful of the fortified nuts themselves wouldn't be amiss, among crunchy pomegranate seeds. Use whatever is in season, whatever you have on hand, whatever floats your boat. Find the change that holds you together in this unyielding storm.