Liz and I will admit to being a tad stranger than most folks in our communal love of winter. We love the cold, the snow, cozying up under blankets as heaters crank away. They way I see it, I enjoy staying warm in cold weather far more than I enjoy trying to cool off in the heat. But I secretly think this is much more cosmically sound, as cold is not a naturally positive state—it’s merely the absence of heat. Therefore, manufactured cold, while in some sense necessary and welcomed in our creature-comforted Western world, still seems… unnatural. And it pales to creating the natural state of warmth out of the cold. But I digress.
Why I’m mindful of this is we just received the last gasping pang of winter, perhaps not only for Ohio, but for us two in particular (er… more on that later). Over a foot of snow fell over the past two days, covering our little world in a frosty wrapping, halting many of the normal maddening activities while giving rise to more enjoyable ones, like sledding and yes, shoveling. Sure, gripe all you want, I enjoyed heaving snow yesterday, despite the sprained abdomen muscle I got from a crack-up on a sled run the night before. It’s all been fun. Even walking a mile to the video store has been a treat, snow blowing about us, faces tingling with chill. Whatever snowy deficit we had through the Christmas season has been more than made up for.
And you can’t help but love the way a huge serving of snow just stops things. Life still churns away, sure, but all the activity we seem to think is so vital to our day to day existence, suddenly becomes: “oh, well maybe not so critical after all.” I guess that even includes school, for a day anyway. And given the universal lot we and our neighbors find ourselves in, people seem generally more friendly. We dig each other out, help push stuck cars, shovel walks and commiserate our dilemmas. It doesn’t describe everyone, but it feels like a lot more genuine help and friendliness comes out when we all realize we’re hampered in the same way. Too bad it takes a blizzard to show us a tiny shadow of our true state.
I’ve always hated the bias the weather people around here have toward winter (“unfortunately, looks like we’re going to see some more white stuff today…”), as if we all share some universal hatred of what I think is as beautiful as any other account of nature. Hey, I love spring as much as the next guy, but until that equinox, I say bring on the snow.