People would call me cold-blooded, because I am in need of outside aid to warm up. I’d rather think that my skins feels a lot more comfortable when the external temperature matches my inner temp. Be it as it may, here I am. Each year I get to test my body’s resistance and mental fortitude as I endure months and months of cold. I never signed up for having goose feathers, thick rubber soles, and fur lining in my daily wardrobe—heck, I use to scoff at the thought of living “where women wear turtlenecks and sweaters”–my own words. You may never have put it that way, but sojourners and locals alike have their complaints about winter.
I will not waste our time listing all of the reasons for disdain—or at best lethargy—over winter. Make small talk with the cashier, repair man or stranger in the elevator. It won’t take long to get to the topic of “the cold,” “winter” or “the weather.” No, at this point in the year, we need to remember the virtues of this chilly—okay, frigid—period of time.
Soak in some of these benefits… the upside of winter.
Uniquely Wintery Things
I asked my husband what he thought was the upside of winter. His response was “skiing.” (Actually, it sounded more like a question; like when a six-year-old guesses “Jesus?” for any prompt at Sunday school.) But I suppose he had a point. Though I couldn’t resonate with the appeal of winter sports, I could appreciate that the season has its own benefits. The benefits of winter fun can only be enjoyed in the winter. Aside from an ice-skating rink, a winter wonderland can’t be manufactured at any other time of the year. At least not sustainably.
Think of all of the wintery things we enjoy that many warmer places do not. (Okay, think really hard! I know we’re in the thick of it, so it may require some mind-jogging.) Snowball fights, snowmen, sled rides, watching cars drive under you from the downtown skyways…
It’s kind of special.
Warm drinks, snuggling with your children, furry slippers, CHRISTMAS… lots of things—even year-round things—are better in winter. I drink coffee if it’s 0 or 100, but it tastes so much better when I’m looking out at a lawn of white. My fireplace is cuter, the pink cheeks on my kids make them more endearing, coming home feels gooooood. Chocolate chip cookies taste better here than when I lived in Georgia. I never cared for cider when we lived in Texas. My love for blooms blossomed here and not while surrounded by them in Puerto Rico. That edge of cold offsets what’s good into even better.
It’s kind of surprising.
The Change of Season
Without a well-marked winter, I fear I’d take other seasons for granted. The seasons would all meld together into “a little colder” and “a little hotter.” Fall here is gorgeous! Spring here is lovely! If at last resort I hate, hate, hate winter, at least I know that I have more to look forward to. Do you remember how happy you felt when you noticed the sun melting the snow last year? Did you feel everyone’s spirits being lifted a touch as the days grew longer ever so slowly? Did you sense a spark of optimism, planning what would lie ahead?
It’s kind of energizing.
A Time to Slow Down
This is something that a busy mom can appreciate. I may not have loved feeling locked in as a teenager, but I find the tendency to slow down and stay in for a season quite quaint. I think we all need a season like that. Trimming down activities and hunkering down in your home is good for a time. It is the counterpart to the summer busyness that we all get caught up in. (I find the insatiable appetite Minnesotans have for outdoor fun that sparks at the first sight of warmth and ends just before the long johns come on pretty cute. We MUST go swimming, boating, fishing, running, biking… today and every day we can!) This vibrant burst happens after the slow down. What better way to simplify than to chalk it up to the weather?
It’s kind of refreshing.
Go to a conference anywhere else in the country and watch eyebrows go up as you say where you’re from. Yeah. That’s right. I can TAKE IT. Maybe you’re not as proud as me. Maybe you’re not lying in wait for your Texan family members to complain about their jacket weather. But tell me you don’t feel a surge of triumph well up in your heart as you put your snow boots away in the attic in [late] Spring!
My Southern family and friends may chuckle when I describe how I get suited up to walk my son a block home from school every day, but I take a bit of pride in it. Every day we go through winter days like it’s just life, and it does something good for our souls. Kids still get to school and make snowmen at recess, the garbage truck still lifts my bin from a tiny mountain of snow, our families still manage to have fun in the evening dark.
It’s kind of beautiful.
So though we may complain about the roads and the shoveling and the dry skin… they’re more like conversation openers, as fleeting as the latest sports stats or silliest celebrity gossip. We tread together through the sleet and ice to come out a little lighter by May.
If the winter blues have you down—no judging, I dabble with them regularly—remember there’s more to the cold than cold. Or cold season. Or cough season. There’s a little life in the death of winter. Hold on to that spark amidst the grey. And remember: you haven’t lived until you know the sensation of frozen boogers in your nostrils.
Think warm thoughts! (Whatever that means.)