We’re actually rarer than unicorns.
Hot cocoa, woolen socks, crisp white days with a warm fire crackling in the background. Everything seems so clean and neat. When you get cold, you bundle up. Add more layers. Eat lots of pasta and other comfort foods to warm your belly. You make snow angels, go skiing and skating, build snowmen, and toboggan down hills so quickly that the cold knocks the air of out your lungs. Everything you do in the winter is an adventure.
Summer is the definition of uncomfortable. You get hot and sweaty, and the only thing that cools you down is entering a cold house with air conditioning which then dries your skin and throat.
Spring is wet. It may feel warm and tempt you in to wearing dresses a little too soon, but you always end up ruining your new, favorite pair of flip-flops because you couldn’t resist the having feeling of grass in your toes the same day as the sudden arrival of a rainstorm.
Fall may be the worst. Fall has every type of weather. Random heat waves too hot to withstand, and then 24 hours later, it is freezing cold but with no snow to layer you from the frozen ground. And rain. Incessant, cold, rain. If it weren’t for the fall harvest and the colorful leaves, I would vote to strike fall out of the calendar completely.
But winter. Cozy, beautiful, brilliant winter. Warm sweaters, long nights, bright, sunny days. It’s so startling, fresh. There is something special about walking through fresh powder, knowing you are the first person to ever touch these gentle snowflakes.
Winter means time with family. And I don’t just mean at the holiday season. I always find myself more available for family functions and wanting more time with my family in the wintertime. It’s almost instinctual — to stay indoors and actually listen to all of your grandfather’s stories, to call your uncle in another province just to see how he’s doing, to have family outings to winter sports events, and curling up in to each other in the stadium trying to stay warm. This isn’t limited to your biological family either, the need for family time can be for your created family.
But most importantly, wintertime also means snow. Snow has this magical quality about it that turns anything in to a piece of art. A swing set becomes a mirage, a mailbox becomes a portal to another world, a fence becomes a dream, and even that old shovel that you forgot to bring inside the night before a storm takes on a beautiful quality that any photographer would love.
Some of my earliest memories are in the snow — my first time skiing. My first time building my own snowman. Being tackled by my brother in to a pile of freshly shoveled snow. Tobogganing down mountains the height of my garage after the snow-plow passes.
I also know that winter is a difficult season. Everything I love about it can also make the season unbearably isolating, sad and terrifying for other people. The snow is overwhelming, and the lack of sunlight is one of the leading causes of depression. However, I am an eternal optimist, and so I try to reach out to other people. This is why I am writing this, to show people how it is that I see winter as beautiful.
Everyone seems more friendly in the wintertime, as though our common woes of having to wake up a half hour earlier to dust off and warm up our cars make us all more sociable. Neighborhood kids come and shovel your driveway as a way to make a quick few dollars, and ease your mornings. Your neighbor stops by with a few extra bottles of windshield washer fluid, just because it was on sale and he thought you might need some. And your dad decided to stop by and salt your walkway, to make sure you don’t slip on ice.
The imagery that the mention of snow brings up in my mind is like magic. As kids, we all loved snow. But it seems that as we grow older, as with most things, the snow loses its magic. The sparkle dies and the snow looks grey. Instead of seeing a mountain of opportunity in our driveway, we see a hindrance to our everyday life. But I still see the magic that winter brings, from the first snowflake in mid-October to the last lump of grey snow in the middle of my yard in April.
And so as much as I enjoy pumpkin spice and anything squash, even though I love getting a tan and having my hair turn a bleach-blond from the sun, and albeit that I love spring because it means the arrival of my birthday, every year I anxiously await December, and that first, magical snowfall… so that I can go meandering through town with Frosty all over again.