The recent turn in the weather, shorts and t-shirt last week, jeans and sweatshirt this week, has turned my thoughts to winter’s impending arrival…
Autumn leaves falling from the trees trigger a sense of dread in me. Winter will soon assert itself, relegating the lawn mower and barbecue grill to their annual exile in the shed. The aroma of steaks or burgers sizzling over charcoal will become but a fond memory. No more lazy summer afternoons lounging on the deck with a good book and a frosty brew while birds in the trees fill the air with pleasant songs. As the days shorten, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to get things done leaving even less time for lounging.
Winter feels so much less alive, less free than summer. The trees have gone bare and the lawn has faded from a lush emerald to dull yellow-brown. In the summer you can step outside in whatever you happen to be wearing, unless, of course, you’re prone to wandering about the house in your skivvies. Once winter tightens its icy grip, you must burn precious daylight time preparing to go outside, bundled up in so many layers that you could serve as the faux criminal for K-9 training. Naturally this assumes that you’ve even been able to find the scarves, hats, earmuffs, boots and a complete pair of gloves.
You have to drag yourself out of a cozy, warm bed an hour earlier just to make sure you can get to work on time and Heaven help you if you have to work outdoors. You go to work in the dark. You come home in the dark. Even during daylight the sky is often gray and overcast perhaps signaling the coming of snow, or sleet or bone-chilling freezing rain.
Sure, the snow can be quite pretty at first, as many picture postcards will attest. The beauty quickly fades however when, in the back of your mind, you know that sooner or later you are going to have to bundle up and brave the frigid air to go out and move the stuff, some of it twice, after the plow driver has taken his aggression out on your driveway. What was once the source of gleeful snowball fights, sledding and elementary igloo design is now an unwelcome and uncomfortable impediment to your daily routine.
Driving in the snow becomes an exercise in self control. You are either aggravated by the slow driver in front of you who is so obviously fearful they’d have been better off leaving the car in the garage, or you are aggravating the drivers who so staunchly believe their all wheel drive SUV’s are immune to loss of friction. Then there’s that spot on the windshield that the wiper never seems to clear completely, always dead center on the driver’s side.
Winter can be hard for the owner of a small dog. I have a Sheltie, built a bit close to the ground. So, in the event that we are blessed with more than 3 or 4 inches of the White Plague, I’m obligated to clear an appropriate space in the yard so that he may do his duty comfortably. Yet, after I’ve spent extra time in glacial conditions and put additional strain on an already aching back, he rewards me with a look that definitely says he thinks that the space is not sufficiently large.
In winter, even the weather forecasts turn painful, pelting us with words like “bitter”, “blustery” and “raw”, displacing the more pleasing “bright”, “breezy” and “balmy” we enjoy in the summer. It’s true that the heat and humidity of the summer can occasionally get uncomfortable but, for me, that’s the difference. It’s simply uncomfortable while the cold of winter can cause actual physical pain. I dislike pain and I hate winter.
I can’t be the only one…..can I?