‘Tis the Season
No, this isn’t one of those rambling laments about how we’ve lost the “reason for the season.” And though it may indeed turn out to ramble, my reason for writing today really is about seasons: and in this case I am talking winter.
I grew up on the east coast. I went to undergrad about an hour drive (if you pushed it, and I usually did) from Buffalo, and subsequently my graduate education took me to New England, specifically Vermont. I’ve seen my share of “nor’easters” (real nor’easters—not just bad storms) and I can say that I really (really!) don’t much like winter. I will also say, however, that lately I’ve developed an appreciation for living in a four-season climate.
I would call myself a summer kind of girl. I typically burn once; tan easily after that and I thrive in warm weather. I could live on watermelon, love to entertain outdoors and if you have a boat or a lake front property I’ll be your private chef all summer, just let me stay in your guest quarters. I have a different bathing suit for every day of the week and on Labor Day—because it heralds the end of summer—I always cry.
But for the past few years I have really found myself getting into the winter too. Don’t get me wrong: the transition is very difficult and this year I was still wearing sandals into early November (we had a long Indian Summer in Iowa this year). But the winters have made me appreciate things that you can’t really embrace in the warm weather months. Things like flannel sheets, hot tea at 5:00 a.m. (when it’s still very dark and will be for two more hours), tons of cinnamon and ginger in everything, cashmere and angora and long, hot baths. In the winter I find myself going deep, hunkering down, reflecting, planning, making complex recipes, writing and spending a lot more time with my (long haired) cat or other snuggly companions. I like different smells (pine is great in December, but not so much in June), and I use different herbs when I prepare food. I stay in bed longer, am more likely to blow off exercising if it’s icy and I usually (OK, always) say yes to dessert. I typically gain about 8 pounds. I just buy one size bigger when I am buying something wool.
The best part for me (now that I have accepted that it can’t always be a long summer holiday weekend!) is the slow-down-and-reflect-and-drink-in-life part of the time period of December through February. I get myself a cup of hot apple cider, toss in a cinnamon stick (maybe a little rum) and read about deeper stuff: self-improvement topics, herbal remedies, composting and the like. Winter is a time to hibernate, plan, project, oh and moisturize, hydrate, mulch….Winter is just…different.
It’s now the first of December. It’s too early to expect the spring seed catalog. My neighbor just brought me some home made coffee liquor. If I put on a bikini right now I would not want anyone to see. I think it’s time to drink in the season. Cheers!