.Staying Healthy During the Winter of ’22

The winter of 2022 may prove to be a winter none of us ever forget. It’s the Omicron winter. Stress levels are at an all-time high as we enter it. Too many people living quarantined in too-small houses sets a bad foundation for any season. It’s cold and it’s wet and shutdowns are in effect in many places as the latest version of the pandemic sweeps back and forth across whole continents.

And yet, we must and we will pull through. Each of us will surthrive this season by staying healthy in our own way.

I will do it the poor-man’s way. I will do it by staying cozy.

To understand what cozy is, a person must understand that I am a cat person, and that my life was once graced by the coziest thing that has ever existed: Shadow Cecilia Fernquest. She was a feral ball of fluff when I first laid eyes on her in a vacant lot in Berkeley in 2002. It took me two months to tame her, and once I brought her home her coziness engulfed me.

She was so cozy that my apartment had a box gas heater in it called a Cozy, and she lay on top of it, all fluffed up and basking in the heat of the pilot light all winter. She was smart, but I was smarter: On cold nights I turned the Cozy off, so that she climbed under the covers to keep warm. In this way we both stayed cozy.

Shadow has passed, but her replacement, Elijah Darkness, lives on. Together we make the house warm and snuggly enough to sustain us through trying times.

We accomplish this by sitting on the couch and listening to the rain drum on the roof at night, by the light of the Christmas tree, which will stay up through March. If needed, we enhance the experience by curling up under a blanket. This routine, accompanied by Elijah’s purrs, lowers both our stress levels perceptably. It is, in fact, the foundation for our extraordinary vitality.

And so I urge everyone with a furry friend to lower their own stress level this winter by routinely curling up with said friend on rainy nights, listening to the rain on the roof and, well, getting cozy.

Mark Fernquest lives the cozy life in West County.


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