After the snow two weeks ago, I returned home to hear three phone messages that began like this:
- “Hope you’re doing well in this awful winter mess!.”
- “Oh my god-it’s snowing again!” and
- Don’t want to make you jealous but I’m in my shorts and t-shirt on a South Beach bicycle tour.”
Hello! I like being in the Northeast in the winter, I like it very, very much — even if winters aren’t what they used to be, which was much more wonderfully wintery. It never got warm and rainy, ever. Thanksgiving was a cozy celebration out of the cold, as were all of the December holidays.
When it snowed, it stayed. We could sled or go skating for weeks at a time. We shoveled, threw salt on slippery driveways and sidewalks, walked and slid back and forth to school, to friends’ houses, made crazy snowmen, played board games, read books, if you had one you sat around a fireplace and laughed and talked, connived and fought. Winter brings us inside much more, that’s true but what’s so awful about being right there with your family and neighbors and friends, with your own wits to create a day.
And clearly these days one can sit inside forever with a smartphone, iPad, XBox 360, etc., and still be out in the world. Why does it have to be warm outside too?
Winter now means that complaints are abundant. It’s as if we shouldn’t have snow, it shouldn’t be cold, it should be spring in January. I listen to the radio when I’m in the car…it’s inevitable that a weather forecaster will have “Good news—it’s going in the high 50’s tomorrow–maybe even up to the low 60’s later in the week.” It’s assumed that winter is not to be really winter.
Winter reveals the amazing jagged beauty of the trees. It helps most of us breathe more easily than humid summer days, it lets us burrow under big blankets at night and read until we doze off in comfort. It gets us into the kitchen to mess around with winter recipes, into the TV room to put our feet up with a giant mug of hot anything, to not feel guilty if we stay inside all weekend and read. Don’t tell me that happens in the summer, it doesn’t. Everyone feels guilty if they stay inside on a nice day.
Come on! Hot humid summer is misery for most everyone, including those who hate winter. We can’t have spring and fall all year long. It’s not in the cards here at 41.08 degrees North. It appears that climate changes are tempting most people to think we can have and deserve a perpetual moderate temperature. If so, I’ll miss the lovely quiet of a snowfall and nighttime lights reflecting on it, the birds come to my winder feeder, the absence of mosquitoes and other warmer weather insects in and out of the house. I’ll miss the more open skyline, bundling up for long walks in a crisp night under a breathtaking sky and those quiet winter moments to just reflect.