Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cool, man...

"In the depths of Winter I finally learned there was, in me, an invincible summer."
~Albert Camus

I don't think Winter gets a fair break. Everyone complains about Winter: it's blustering wind, it's propensity for wet, especially snow; it's frigidity. Not me. I've said it before, I'll say it again. I love Winter. I come alive when the North wind begins to blow. I welcome the darker days.

It stems from my childhood in Michigan - it seems that my fondest memories of childhood are Winter memories. We were sent out to play in all kinds of weather, and there was as much to do outdoors in Winter as there was in Summer. There were snow forts to build and ensuing snowball fights to be had. My big sis once sculpted a life sized snow horse in the front yard - it was sturdy enough for three of us to sit on. There was sledding down the neighbor's hill at break-neck speeds. Of course, there was also the seemingly endless task of shoveling the driveway - just a price to pay. I was never one for skiing. I tried once, and let's just say that there's a tree up at Boyne Mountain that will never be the same.

My big brothers would build an ice rink in our backyard every year. We could hardly wait until it was cold enough and stayed cold enough for them to do so. It seemed like forever until the day would come and they'd say the ice was ready. We'd lace up our skates, bundle up in hats and scarves, and head outside to sail away. I learned the way of the blade back when Peggy Flemming was the talk of the Winter Olympics. I'd blissfully glide around the ice for hours, pretending I was the next Olympic hopeful. Half of the neighborhood would show up in our back yard - it was the time of year when we were the coolest people on the block. We'd play crack the whip, sending the end contingencies flying off, giggling and screeching, into snow banks. It was a blast, and often, Mom would have to force us to come in and warm up. Those were the good ol' days, I tell ya.

The cold weather has never bothered me. I was talking with my Minnesota friend, Patty, yesterday (Don't worry Patty - you are definitely on the radar. Birddog and I will make it to your driveway someday soon!). We were discussing the joys of Winter and the fact that dealing with the cold and snow is what made us "real wimmin." She mentioned that they were having a heat wave - the temp was climbing all the way into the mid 20's - a welcome relief after the near zero degree temperatures they'd been having. I made the comment that back in the day, we used to refer to that as Booger-freezin' Cold. Those are the days when you step outside and the insides of your nostrils instantly freeze up - nobody here quite understands that concept.

My brother, Tom used to ride his bicycle 365 days a year. Back then he had a full beard. By the time he'd get home, the steam from his breath would have turned his beard into nifty icicle dreadlocks. I'm sure he didn't find it nearly as amusing as I did, but I always thought it was so cool.

Ahhh, Winter. Ahhh, Youth. I miss those days. Those are the ones I look back on with a nostalgic sigh. Those are the ones that come to mind when someone says, "Tell me your favorite childhood memory." All of my favorites are Winter days.

"Winter is not a season, it's an occupation."
~Sinclair Lewis

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