So I was reading in the newspaper this morning that an enormous portion of the country is currently experiencing an "Arctic Blast". Their weather has turned from seasonal autumn to frigid. An exceedingly early winter. And in fact, they anticipate that more than 200 weather records will be broken, and not in a good way. Brrrrrrr! Wowza!
I remember those days. I was born in Illinois - a place with some serious winter weather. But I also lived in Missouri, Connecticut and Colorado - also places with notorious amounts of snow/sleet/ice/freezing rain/cold and in general wintery concerns.
I remember it all. And all too well. Snow suits that took eternity to get stuffed into and then once in, we could barely move. Breathing through a wet knit scarf. I can still remember the smell and feel of the air through the snow-wet muffler. The stinging sensation of warming up half frozen fingers that while warmer in knitted mittens were not protected from either cold and wet. Trying to keep a knit hat on my head. Usually knit hats are either too big for me or too slippery. Somehow I always had difficulty keeping the damned things in place. But as kids, really it's not an issue. Nope, we were too busy having fun to be miserable.
A good snowstorm meant a day off from school. YAY! And then we would go outside to play, building snow forts and snow people and in general frolicking like little Scandinavian Alvor (elves). Then, when our cheeks couldn't get any more rosy and our lips were growing numb (from eating snow - of course we did) and ice crystals were forming on our lashes, finally we would go inside. We took off our many layers and dried them either near a wood stove or the radiator (depending on where we lived at the time) and puddles would form where the clumps of snow melted off and the fragrance of wet wool filled the house as we drank our cocoa or our cups of soup to warm up.
As an adult it was more about the slip'n'slide drive to and from work and is the wood box full and mopping up the endless puddles of wet and worrying about the cost of heating oil for the furnace as the days got colder and colder and shoveling the danged driveway and sidewalk without slipping and falling on our butts. The joy of winter is pretty much out the window. Unless of course you are a skier which I most certainly am not.
I do remember that the pain-in-the-arsedness of winter weather but I also remember how pretty it was. Like a Christmas Card. The sun sparkling off the snow and ice like a fairy land, making casseroles and stews and roasts and chilis. Baking breads and gingerbread cakes and filling the house with those wonderful wintery fragrances. Even the snow smells good, at least at first. It's clean and cold and crips and wonderful. At least until it turns grey and nasty.
I remember the delight of seeing the footprints of birds and deer and wild animals of all sorts. We only rarely saw the animals the rest of the year, but here was proof that in the wee hours, when we weren't looking, they were still around.
Here on the other hand, while our friends and family who live in other places are shivering and bundled to their noses trying to stay warm, we have finally gone from the sweaty, oppressive and miserably humid hot of the longest summer since we've lived here to the overdue and ever so welcome, much cooler dryer season. We kind of only have two weather seasons here; Summer and not summer. I can't even put an actual name to the second one. It's not really like autumn, it's certainly not like summer and spring means nothing here since stuff grows year 'round.
But the weather absolutely has changed. My attire alone proves it. Normally in the summer I dress much like in the first photo above. Shorts, sandals and either a tee-shirt or a tank. And the windows are closed tightly against the heat with the AC turned up, the ceiling fans whirling 24/7 and the dehumidifier working overtime.
Then suddenly, it changes. This year it changed far too late. It's November for heaven's sakes. Everyone else I know is in the the throes of an early winter and we have only just now crossed over into "not summer". Saturday it was not only, "not summer", it was also very windy. And the wind carried a bit of chill in it. Loverly. We opened windows in the house but as you can plainly see (in the other photo) I wore long pants, closed toed shoes and, although I was wearing a cap sleeved summery blouse, I needed (at least early in the day) to wear a light weight jacket. What a nice change.
I"m sorry that everyone else is frosty and snowy and I hope they stay safe and dry and warm. But for us, I am so happy to have finally finally finally reached "not summer" season here. Today I'm back to wearing shorts and a tee-shirt, but the difference is, the windows are still open and I'm not sweaty. What a lovely change. We may even, at some point, have a couple of days chilly enough to wear long pants and sweaters or sweatshirts! We might even have a light frost at some point. But that will be the worst of it.
All of you who are shivering in the arctic cold, please stay warm and stay safe! The rest of us will quietly enjoy the amazingly gorgeous days of "not summer". It's okay with me if you are jealous now ;)
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.