For the life of me, I cannot understand people who say they love fall. Because fall, to me, means that winter is imminent. I wilt when the first Arctic blast bears down from Canada. Once it drops below 40, forget running outside (I used to be much tougher, but then I got older and smarter and more frail). I sleep with extra socks on and the blankets piled up deep and in the mornings I resist unraveling from my cocoon, because the spouse has the thermostat set to drop to refrigerator temperatures at night. I have more hooded sweatshirts than I have shoes, because one can never wear too many layers. I'd move further south if it was up to me, but you see, the spouse has a high percentage of Scandinavian blood and if it were up to him, we'd be living in International Falls, Minnesota - you know, that dot on the map where all the weathermen in the contiguous lower 48 states point to when they mention the lowest LOW temperature on a winter day?
Snow? Snow is pretty to look at from inside on a day you have nowhere to go to and it does brighten up a drab, muddy landscape beneath gray skies. But it's not runner-friendly, particularly on our country road, which is always the last to get plowed because only ten people live on a five mile stretch of it. I hate driving in snow because I imagine my car careening into the ditch. Proof that as I've gotten older, I've also become more of a fraidy-cat. Worst of all, our 1/4 mile long, uphill, gravel driveway is like an Alaskan off-road adventure whenever the snow drifts. With a coating of ice, driving downhill is a thrill ride that outranks The Beast at Kings Island. Unfortunately, we ruined all sledding opportunities when we put up pasture fence at the bottom of the back hill. If you want to sled down the driveway and don't mind the potholes or the possibility of a concussion when you slam into the cottonwood tree, that option is still open.
Mostly, though, it's that weekend of turning the clocks back that nudges me towards hibernation. By 6 p.m. it's pitch black outside and a half an hour later I'm yawning and ready for bed. This makes it tough to stay up and watch Craig Ferguson (I still haven't figured out how to set the DVD player to record, even though we've had it for five years now). Darkness is sooo . . . depressing.
I need sunlight. At least 14 hours worth per day. I generate energy through photosynthesis, I'm sure. If you ask me, it should be summer 11 months out of the year. I'll allow that one month of winter for tucking in and recharging and holiday shopping, but after that I want to be back outside with the sunshine warming my skin and the gardens bursting with color and the birds chirping away - even that blasted nocturnal mockingbird that camps outside my window.
To combat hibernation (and thus gaining 5-10 pounds every winter), I haul myself to the YMCA for workouts, read the books I've been meaning to read all year, purge the basement of all those 'things' I thought I'd need sometime later and spend waaay too much time on the computer.
This year I'm going to do something totally different - take college courses in Geology and Biology. For fun? you ask. Uh, no . . . although I do find the subjects interesting. Actually I'm trying to renew my teaching certificate, so at some point in the future I can grow up and get a real job. As long as my brain doesn't implode from having to remember how to study, it should make the months pass quickly.
What do you do to make it through the cold season? And is there anybody out there (except you skiers) who actually embrace winter?
Stay warm my friends,