This winter has been a dud, so far. I qualify the statement because Nebraska weather can take a turn to the extreme with little or no notice. In the central region of North America, weather is more of a daily topic of conversation than in other areas. It’s not that we’re that boring of a population, we simply interact and rely upon the weather for our livelihoods and our lives.
In the summer, as in most areas, we suffer through heat and humidity that makes us wilt and can cause illness and death. I’ve had two bouts of heatstroke so my tolerance of summer heat and humidity is limited. Summertime can literally make me sick and weak. I used to enjoy summertime, but The Yukon Territory is more fetching in my July imagination than anywhere else.
Meantime, the winter, is when I feel most alive, vibrant and aware. There is none of that drugged over feeling of overly hot days. I rarely feel “out of it” during the months of crisp, coldness. I have trouble reminding myself why folks around here gripe about winter. All I have to do is imagine myself suffering through summer. That puts me in a more compassionate mood.
Still, if people so hate winter, I wonder why they bother to live here. They could move to Texas, or Louisiana, or New Mexico. Maybe Arizona or California, or Florida except that they’re getting pretty crowded. Maybe us humans just love to complain more than provide solutions. It’s likely people just hate the high cost of utilities during Mother Nature’s chillout.
I won’t say that I believe winter is perfect. I do know that it is difficult at times. It is the challenge that makes me feel whole. Honestly, an evening drive down a highway that is coated with a layer of ice is a frightful event. A person must be vigilant when venturing out in a blizzard. A severe winter storm can kill even the healthiest, most fit individual. Even scooping snow can be fatal if you’re middle aged and out of shape.
I enjoy winter in spite of the challenges, perhaps even because of the risks.
But the joys of winter are best. I enjoy the holiday season in December. The January chill is a time of contemplation and creativity. Sometimes, it’s good to just sit inside with a cup of your favorite hot drink and watch the snowfall and the wind playing together.
I don’t watch teevee. So the indoor time is conducive to creative pursuits. Hobbies and writing come to life in wintertime.
But for the most invigorating moments of life, I just enjoy getting outdoors to go for a hike. I love to bundle up in my favorite parka and crunch through the snow and take in the extreme cold. Many early mornings in wintertime feature subzero temperatures coupled with fresh snowfall. The interplay of a streetlight or moonlight with the crystal structure of the new snow provides a fantasy sparkle and backdrop of joy to the darkened hours.
There is a quiet in winter that is unmatched at any other time of year. There is the absence of lawnmowers, motorcycles and hopped up cars. Even the lack of summer bird calls is refreshingly stark. Winter provides a fresh clean slate for the mind. I pay attention to more features after a snowstorm, because so many distractions are under cover. I like to be the first person to create footprints in the middle of the street before traffic tears through the simple pathway over my street. I love to see the vapor of my breath as my boots crunch through the cadence of my morning stroll.
We haven’t had very much “real” winter, this winter, yet.
The Blue Jay of Happiness appreciates the seeds and corn placed outdoors by bird watchers each day.