Finding Appreciation in the Bitter Cold of Winter

I have to admit, I like winter. I do. Parts of fall and spring are good too. But I sure like winter. I’ll wait for you to get the scorn for me out of your system.

All better? Ok.

Yes, in summer you can go fry on the beach or elbow your neighbors at the crowded local pool, go for a run/bike ride outside wearing just special lightweight, sweat-whisking clothes, go camping and bury your poop in a hole in the ground, and other fun outdoor activities that generally don’t result in frostbite.

Truth be told, pretty much anything above 80 degrees is hot for me. Once it hits 85, it starts feeling brutal. Honestly. And that’s probably where it all starts for me.

Hot

Yeah, that pretty much illustrates it.

Most people’s jaws drop to the floor when I say I like winter. That’s never more true than when January rolls around with its single-digit temperatures and below 0 wind-chills. Most everyone I know from family, friends, and co-workers to business associates or random people I pass in the office building strike up a conversation by complaining about the winter season.

I’ve come to expect it, and have regularly found myself either forcibly chuckling along or just silently standing by when this comes up. The same is true when any discussion relating to “good vs bad weather”, spring vs summer, or similar conversations arise.

But I’ve tried to regularly remind myself that even if I don’t like something, I can find things to appreciate within it. And I felt the same can be true for many people during these cold winter months.

Now, even though I’m not a big fan of summer, I do find ways to appreciate it, like being able to take my son to the park to play. I appreciate that we can more easily come across our neighbors to have a conversation with by simply stepping out of the front door. I appreciate having a relaxing afternoon BBQ or drinking beers by a nighttime fire with family and friends. I appreciate having a water balloon toss for 4th of July even though by just simply standing around outside I become a sweaty mess.

sweat.jpg

Ah, the awkwardness of having to admit that no one spilled their water on me.

Do I sometimes get preoccupied with worrying about my level of discomfort with the heat and/or humidity? Yes. Do I sometimes find it hard to just simply be in the moment? Yep. Do I always remember to put inconvenience out of my mind in order to appreciate the main purpose of spending quality time with friends and family? No, but I should. Did I leave the garage door open this morning? I can’t remember. Was that too many rhetorical questions? Definitely.

But change the environment, topic, or situation, and I’m sure many can relate.

As with most everything, there are drawbacks to the things you like. And yes, I will admit that winter can be especially harsh.

There will inevitably be people from various geographic regions that will adamantly state their winters are worse than others…and then those others will contend their winters are actually worse. I don’t really get that argument. I mean, I know nowadays everything has to be a competition. But a competition on how much misery you’re in? That seems absurd to me. Can we call agree that we have better things to debate and just move on?

 

tp vs tp

Such as…..

Sure, in winter there are plenty of things to complain about. Whether you live in the North, Midwest, and Northeast, your winters can pretty much suck. You might live in a state of perpetual misery for months on end. As I write this, the Vikings and Seahawks just played the 3rd coldest NFL game (-6 at kickoff, and -25 windchill). And if you’re not being blasted by arctic winds, you’re being buried under mountains of snow. When both happen at the same time, that’s an extra special fun time.

blizzard 2

Forgot to get gas for your snowblower? Wah wah

When it snows, commuters with long travel times can see their trips take approximately 389 times longer than it normally would. Salt rusts parts of your car away. You have to shovel. There are way fewer parking spaces available. You have to bundle up just to go anywhere, and then have no where to put your survival gear when you get to your destination…and so you play the “I’m only going a short distance, so maybe I don’t need to wear my boots/scarf/parka” game. It’s a weird and unfun game for sure. Those of you in the south and southwest don’t know what you’re missing. Or maybe you do and you successfully escaped that madness; in which case, kudos to you.

So that all that sucks. But there is another side to the rough winter weather.

 

Air crispness

Winter air is so unique. The humidity is low, the air is chilled, and there’s just something different when you take in a breath of the frosty air. Put your anger of the cold aside and walk out one day, close your eyes, and embrace the fresh, cool air. It’s rather invigorating.

Want science to ruin that experience? Science is happy to oblige. In winter, molecules move more slowly than they do in the warm summer weather. The olfactory receptors in our noses actually pull back too. Combine those, and it means we don’t detect as many molecules as we normally would have if the temperature was warmer. And so the air can feel cleaner/fresher.

happy winter.jpg

Ahhhhhhhhhh

 

The quiet

When leaving the house early in the morning, there’s a quiet you can experience that is almost unrivaled. A calm, peaceful tranquility. Put together with the air crispness, it can make for a remarkably serene moment.

winter road.jpg

Not pictured: noise

 

Snow hanging quietly from the branches

Staring down the street the morning after a snowfall almost always gives a picturesque view of dark, dormant tree branches outlined by the newly fallen snow. This may perhaps only rivaled by autumn trees or budding trees in the spring.

snow branches.jpg

Pairs nicely with quiet. Add a serving of crisp, cool air on the side for an enhanced experience.

 

Winter activities

Get out and try to have some fun. The cold and snow won’t go away for a while…and you can’t hide from ’em. Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, skating, snowmobiling, ice-fishing. You don’t have to like them all, but finding a way to enjoy activities outside that only cold weather can bring can be a special thing. At the very least, it may help you forget that your limbs are slowly freezing to death for a few minutes.

sledding.jpg

Weeeeee!!!

 

Coming back in from being outside and having hot chocolate

Is an explanation really needed here? I mean, it’s warm, chocolaty, deliciousness.

hot chocolate.jpg

Spike for added enjoyment….if you’re of legal age of course.

 

Sun dogs

Taking you instantly away to some far off planet, the sundog is a brilliant, awesome sight to behold. I’m going to block science from ruining this one. I mean, just look

sun dog 4

Eat your heart out Tatooine

 

And lastly, watching kids enjoy the weather

If you have kids, you can relate. But even if you don’t, take a moment and watch the joy that kids have as they run out into the rigid temps and bound over snowbanks, make snow angels, have a snowball fight, and construct a snowman or a fort. You may groan at the thought of having to get yourself all suited up (I do)…and then help them get all suited up too. But take a moment and watch as they run care-free through the white powder.

And then enjoy some hot chocolate with them after as your rosy cheeks return to their normal color as you defrost.

 

Winter doesn’t have to be miserable. In fact, not everything has to be. There can be positives to pretty much anything. And sometimes it helps to have a reminder of that.

 

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. – Abraham Lincoln

 

 

 

Penguin picture: https://pixabay.com/en/photo-montage-penguin-desert-hot-482628/;
Sweaty picture: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/tired-1545141;
TP picture: https://pixabay.com/en/toilet-paper-roll-bathroom-tissue-147620/;
House picture: https://pixabay.com/en/house-snow-buried-winter-december-690199/;
Happy picture: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/snow-1405486;
Winter Roadway picture: https://pixabay.com/en/sunset-horizon-winter-road-way-865164/;
Winter Road picture: https://freerangestock.com/photos/35216/winter-road.html;
Tubing picture: https://pixabay.com/en/snow-tubing-sled-sledding-snow-93024/;
Cocoa picture: https://pixabay.com/en/cocoa-marshmallows-drinks-hot-587398/;

 

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One thought on “Finding Appreciation in the Bitter Cold of Winter

  1. Pingback: Stats and a Moment of Reflection – Fatherhood, Fails, and Football

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