WINTER IS ROUGH IN THE MIDWEST.
A month ago, right before extreme snowstorms made everyday living inconvenient for everyone in the east, I was in Michigan for the holidays, gushing at the picturesque winter wonderland around us. It was the opposite of Los Angeles, the always sunny town I’d grown to both love and hate. The timing could not have been more perfect for this trip. Lansing, the capital of Michigan, had lost its power a few hours before I landed due to the snowstorm. By the time I got there, things were back to normal. Meanwhile, one day after I flew back to Los Angeles, the polar vortex caused thousands of flights to get cancelled.
This was only my third visit to Michigan, but my first time to see it in the winter. One of the spots I’d visited back in 2012 was the Holland State Park Beach. This is what it looked like. I thought it was pretty, mostly because of how empty it was compared to the beaches I’d gotten used to here in LA. However, seeing it in the winter was pretty astounding. From the frozen waves, the ice-covered sand, to the mini icebergs on the lake – everything made the Big Red look so nice and vibrant in the middle of everything. The landscape was treacherous to navigate, almost like I wasn’t supposed to be there.
The bleakness was perfect, albeit a little dramatic. I remember hearing something about how writers thrive in cold climates. While I agree with that, I would argue that all creatives do. Winter gives you plenty of opportunities to ruminate, provides you with such profound depth to pull from. It’s inspiring to be in the midst of such a big, white landscape to remind you that you are the foreigner here and you own nothing of what surrounds you.
As Rilo Kiley once put it, we are just small figures in a vast expanse.