And Winter Marches on…

Porter Pike

Old Porter Pike

Snow can wait, I forgot my mittens. Wipe my nose.
Get my new boots on
I get a little warm in my heart
When I think of winter
I put my hand in my father’s glove.

I just came in from taking my dog for a five minute walk around the neighborhood.  But it took me ten minutes to put on an extra sweatshirt, a coat, my gloves, my boots, and a scarf.  I’m not complaining, mind you–far from it.  I would gladly wrap up every time I ventured out rather than risk sweating just to walk to the mailbox.

I run off where the drifts get deeper. Sleeping beauty trips me with a frown
I hear a voice, “You must learn to stand up, for yourself, Cause I can’t always be around.”

It starts in early November with the smell of apples cooking on the stove, and a sense of giddiness takes over with the thought of cold weather! Then the time changes!  Now when I go to bed at 8:00 it is pitch dark out!  The feelings of my energy draining to my melting shoes, sweating profusely, and my skull exploding when I get in a 200 degree car are but memories.

He says,”When you gonna make up your mind? When you gonna love you as much as I do? When you gonna make up your mind? Cause things are gonna change so fast. All the white horses are still in bed. I tell you that I’ll always want you near. You say that things change my dear…”

I have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and maybe I have it. Only I get it in the summer.  Yep, I regard summer and all its trappings with reproach with its odious 100+degree temperatures! Sweating while standing still, the failure to look good in a bathing suit(or even a short sleeved shirt and gauchos, for that matter), eating sandwiches because I can’t tolerate cooking in an 80 degree kitchen, feeling guilty about not playing some sort of sport outside in the raging heat, having people say in amazement, “You don’t know how to SWIM?” all make me quite depressed. The onslaught of winter with the sweet smell of decaying leaves and the sight of pumpkins on every porch rejuvenates and awakens me!

Boys get discovered as winter melts. Flowers competing for the sun.
Years go by and I’m here still waiting. Withering where some snowman was. Mirror, mirror where’s the crystal palace?  But I only can see myself
Skating around the truth who I am. But I know dad the ice is getting thin.

I hung up my coat after walking the dog, and I noticed I have five winter coats and 20 scarves, yes 20 scarves.  But. Not. One. Bathing suit.  I rather like the idea of not worrying about how thin I look when I don a winter coat, dismissing the spurious and dubious position that we women don’t actually care what we look like wearing  in public less than we generally wear to bed. In fact, my scantily clad appearance would only beg the question, “Where are her friends?!”

And speaking of things I like about winter, here are a few more I’d like to postulate:

I love that it gets dark at four thirty. I like coming home and making a hot cup of tea, lighting a candle and snuggling under a quilt to watch a movie or a read a good book and not feeling guilty about “not enjoying the sunshine.” I love my quilts made my the hands of my mother in law and her mother.  Quilts have no place in summer living.

And speaking of snuggling, it’s much easier to engage in the activity in the winter!

I have to be at work at six a.m. so it’s dark at eight o’clock when I go to bed, thus I can actually fall asleep!  So….I actually sleep better in the winter.

While I do miss homegrown vegetables and the “taste” of summer, I much prefer winter comfort foods like homemade chili, vegetable beef soup, and homemade bread. Enough said.

My frightening paleness is less conspicuous in the winter months, as I keep the same pasty glow all year round. At least from November to March, I look like everyone else.  Although I occasionally see on many an aged-before-their time women, a leathery, orange-y hue that only a tanning bed in February can provide.  The tables are turned–those who find the blinding  Casper-esque quality of my skin anathema in the throws of a summer heat wave are, in turn, gawked at by moi…it’s the middle of winter, for Chrissake!  WHY do you have a tan?

I like sitting in front of a fireplace in a sweater drinking something hot. I have no desire to sit on a beach in a bathing suit drinking something cold.  The closest I’d like to get to that is drinking a glass of chilled wine while watching the sun set through the leafless trees…from my kitchen window!

This summer we had a neighborhood cookout in the sweltering heat and every fly in three counties decided to crash the party.  Winter=NO flies…or winged, buzzing pests of any kind.

I have winter hair.  By that I mean, as soon as the temperature hits 80 or above, the humidity descends on Kentucky with a merciless and unceasing vengeance, ensuring a frightening frizzy mass of unruliness that can only be called “hair” because it is on my head, but can only be described as a wet cat with a bad perm perched on my skull.

As a child we used a wood burning stove to heat our home, as did many of my neighbors. Smells evokes memory like no other sense can,  so when I walk the dog and inhale the smell of a cold winter evening mingled with wood smoke, it is a smell that is normal to me, even comforting.

Hair is gray, and the fires are burning. So many dreams on the shelf
You say I wanted you to be proud of me. I always wanted that myself.

He says, “When you gonna make up your mind? When you gonna love you as much as I do? When you gonna make up your mind? Cause things are gonna change so fast. All the white horses have gone ahead. I tell you that I’ll always want you near. You say that things change…My dear .”

So, others can have their summers, their swimming pools, and their fly infested backyard barbecues!  I’d like to keep my cold winter evenings, when the earth settles down earlier, where I am snuggled up and warm under a homemade quilt, hot chocolate in my favorite snowman mug and candlelight as my main light source from late afternoon til bedtime.  I want to bundle up in sweaters, mittens, and scarves, and I want to watch a sunrise over sparkly snow…for just a little while longer.

A winter’s carol
Echoes the sound of wonder
and I can hear it
Ringing out
Ringing out,
From pine to oak
Bringing out, with the December snow
Ringing out
A gift of old
Wrapped in ribbons of gold
For the whole world…~A Winter’s Carol

out my front door

The setting sun from my kitchen window


One response »

  1. An excellent piece, Mary. I myself have mixed feelings about the seasons. I like the summer as I can ride in to work and back in the light of day instead of the cold chill, but then again I get really hot and sweaty on the bike under the heat, so it’s good and bad at the same time. I tend to like autumn the most, when nature just starts to settle down. I like the smell of fires. I like to swim in our small pool, which of course we cannot do in winter, but at the same time I like dark evenings with candles. Hmmm, I like a bit of everything I guess. Perhaps we can invent a new season which has the best of everything!

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