I like winter — in theory. I like the delusional Currier and Ives wintertime: depictions of rosy-cheeked young people, bundled in blankets in a horse-drawn sleigh; young lovers skating across a frozen pond; athletic skiers schusshing down the slopes.
“It’s a marshmallow world in the winter.” “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.” “Walking in a winter wonderland.”
I do like the aroma of a crackling, hickory-wood fire in the fireplace, and the pleasant warmth it offers one’s backside. I enjoy the fresh, cold breath of air and the sparkle of an early morning frost on the lawn, the barely audible swish of snowflakes falling through evergreens.
The first snowfall of the season turns the drab, bare landscape into a dazzling display — the stark contrast of evergreens, the crimson flash of a male cardinal, vivid blue sky behind snow-capped peaks. I like sitting inside, in front of a fire, watching fat flakes of snow fall outside, while sipping a cup of cocoa and munching oatmeal cookies.
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The theory of wintertime stirs fond memories. In practice, Currier and Ives were accomplished con artists. Winter hurts. Building snowmen, molding snowballs, and scraping ice off windshields result in indescribable pain in one’s fingers. Walking in cold weather turns toes numb — until they begin to thaw, and then they just hurt.
Winter wind cuts through flesh as certain as a Ginsu steak knife slices a soda can. Your nose runs, your ears hurt, every joint that has ever suffered a sprain aches. Pristine snow turns to brown slush, which clings to boots and pants legs and follows you into the house.
Commerce ceases. Schools close, your kids are housebound, and their brief ventures outside result in another mess to clean up. They catch cold.
Travel is a crapshoot. Driving becomes hazardous; airports shut down; travelers are shuttled to distant locales to make non-existent connections.
By mid-January I have had quite enough winter wonderland. I’m tired of wearing layers, weary of bad roads, fed up by travel delays. And we still have February to get through.
I need a little springtime, right this very minute; tulips in the garden, when can we begin it?