I admit to complaining a lot about winter weather. I don’t like the cold, a condition that has become more acute with age.
In my long-ago youth, neither cold nor hot weather discouraged me from being outside doing whatever I had a mind to do. I played baseball in 90-plus degree heat and a similar humidity reading. Didn’t bother me. I played football, hunted rabbits and chopped wood in cold weather. We threw snowballs at each other during the infrequent opportunities we had in Upstate South Carolina. My feet got cold, my hands stung from the frosty air and my lips chapped and cracked. I recovered quickly, often with my backside to a roaring fire made possible by the recently chopped wood.
Our little house had a floor furnace without vents to bedrooms, so beds were piled with quilts and blankets. After the first few seconds of shock from cold sheets, the bed provided a snug haven from the chill. Mornings were hard.
These days, I appreciate central heat. I also appreciate the electric mattress cover that assures a warm reception, even on the coldest nights of winter.
I haven’t played football, hunted rabbits, chopped wood or ventured outside unnecessarily for more than a few minutes in freezing temperatures in years. I have no desire to ski; I tried it twice and was thankful, and fortunate, that no bones were broken.
When the cold hits, I brew a pot of coffee, a cup of tea or a mug of hot cocoa and stay inside.
I do enjoy snow, however. I like to walk it in; I enjoy watching the delicate flakes fluttering down, and feel the snowflakes settling gently on bare skin. I appreciate the quiet of snowfall, the cleanliness of it. But I don’t linger. I don’t play in the snow; don’t create ice forts or snowmen. I don’t sled down hills or make snow angels. I go out, watch, feel the snow, listen to the quiet and hasten inside to a warm beverage and central heat.
We’ve had several opportunities to enjoy snowfall here in Northeast Tennessee this winter, the latest early this week, in mid-March. I arose Tuesday morning, March 13, to a dusting that covered grass and soil in a thin skein of white. Wednesday brought about two inches that closed schools, a few businesses and created a spectacular view out my back door. The hay meadow, pasture and wood line all transformed into a — excuse the cliché — winter wonderland.
The angus cattle in the pasture stood out starkly; newborn calves gamboled in this new sensation. Redbirds perched in the flowering branches of a pear tree were hard to miss. By noon, it was gone, replaced by a cold west wind that cut like a razor.
Snow has been pretty this year. Time for spring.