Thursday, January 16, 2014

In Praise of Winter

At work today, a young woman making casual conversation asked me if I was "ready for summer." I hesitated, because it was one of those things that people say on a cold, grey day expecting only a pro-forma agreement, but then I said the truth "no, I'm not ready to let winter go yet." My response startled her, but she was working and needed to move on, so she just nodded and said bye.  

I am no longer as fond of cold weather as I was when I was younger. Winter weather exacerbates both my arthritis and my asthma. I dislike having to take all the additional medicines necessary to allow me to function when it is cold. I am also less confident of my ability to drive in sleet and snow as I once was. 

But I still love winter. I love how the forest becomes naked and the bones of the world show through - the rocks and crevasses, the bare forest floor. Every drive to work or store is a treasure hunt for the stark white fingers of sycamore trees. I love the lace of brown branches edging the mountains against the pale sky. I love the way the wind rattles the dry leaves and rubs the bare branches together. 

But most of all I love how winter makes spring possible. Until you have lived in a place (like California) where the transition from winter to spring is scarcely noticeable, where roses bloom all year round, you cannot truly appreciate how winter gives birth to spring.  So, no I am not pining for summer, nor waiting for spring, but living with joy in winter.

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