The ground is muddy with thawing.
The birds are chirping noticeably at five o’clock in the morning.
The forecast is calling for it to be no lower than 50 degrees the next 10 days.
I know Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and we’re supposed to have six more weeks of winter, but for the most part we are now set to resume global warming’s ways–and earlier than ever before.
If it weren’t for air conditioning, hot summers would be a drag.
If it weren’t for heated dwellings in winter, icy temperatures and precipitation would be awfully more than responsible for cabin fever.
And no matter the weather conditions, I write.
When internet or electrical connections are unreliable, it makes a scribe grateful their mobile devices like laptops, tablets and phones are available to at least put some words down on screen. I suppose I should have held on to a manual typewriter. But, I’d still have to scan whatever I typed on paper into storage medium of some kind for transfer to computer for optical character recognition (once the electricity and internet proved stable again).
The winter’s cold is fleeting from the moment it starts. I’m so ready for it by the time December 21st or thereabouts arrives. While I cannot withstand damp, cold winters like I used to, I understand all too readily that despite my fading tolerance for the harshest season, I cannot imagine ever living in a place that didn’t have them.
Who knows, that may change, but if I was always able to make the choice myself, I believe I’d opt to live in a place where there are four, distinct seasons.
Winter is a challenge and by the time you’ve adapted, grown untrimmed facial hair and gotten into the habit of wearing that favorite flannel shirt two or three days in a row, you get a day where the temperatures are 20+ degrees warmer than the day before. And you feel off.
On the surface, you don’t know what it is.
But in the back of your mind you do.
It’s the hint of spring that both saddens and delights—disappointing because you know you won’t be satisfactorily challenged by winter’s charms for nine more months and (maybe not) delighted, because well, things are blooming, stoking your allergies, birds are chirping just like the second sentence of this piece and you know grass-mowing season is literally just around the corner, and sure to add to your sneezing woes.
If I lived in the Pacific Northwest I’d be able to hold off all these ambivalent feelings about winter coming to an end. This region of the country is supposed to still be damp and cooler for the next couple months, while the East is supposed to be in shorts in a couple of weeks.
The weather, no matter how it is treating you in your respective part of the country, is not political. There are no threads on Facebook where people are hating on cold or warm weather. There is an acceptance of it that transcends everyone.
We have this in common as a species.
When things are getting crazy all around us, I look to things that do not involve drawing a line in the sand or not being able to agree to disagree.
The weather is one of them.
So, find your own beach—with, or without a Corona, and even if it’s on a frozen lake in northern Minnesota.
You can engage in worse things than absorbing yourself in nature, the weather it brings and the spaces in mind it commands you to.
You can’t control it and that is its biggest lesson.