Jack Zaleski: Love winter? It must be brain freeze
A few days ago, The Forum featured a story about people who love winter - who find they are happier in winter than in summer. They are not hobbled by long, cold nights and cloudy, gray days. They don't get bent out of shape by snow-plugged roads,...
A few days ago, The Forum featured a story about people who love winter – who find they are happier in winter than in summer. They are not hobbled by long, cold nights and cloudy, gray days. They don’t get bent out of shape by snow-plugged roads, hard-starting cars or the possibility of hip-shattering falls on icy sidewalks.
They don’t suffer from (what sometimes is merely an excuse to be unpleasant or lazy) seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Indeed, they claim they not only prefer cold weather, they thrive on it. They’re like a cross between a bison and a jackrabbit: happily stoic in a blizzard; wide-eyed giddy about a bounding romp across the drifts.
Not buying it.
Maybe it’s an age thing. Winter is tougher on older people. When I was younger I welcomed winter. Firing up the snow thrower after the first storm was as much ritual as chore. It was a social event in the neighborhood – an assessment by “experts” of the relative performances of our machines.
Shoveling snow was hearty and healthy exercise, not worry about wrenched back or twisted knee. Strapping on cross-country skis or snowshoes was precursor to a post-outing party with like-minded friends to share hot chocolate or something stronger, and tell tall tales of the trek, which got taller as the drink got stronger.
Or putting up firewood – felling, bucking, spitting and stacking – and then embracing bone-weary satisfaction as the cords filled the shed. And not feeling the cold at all.
Good times, I must concede. Still do some of that stuff on occasion, and I still love it.
But there is something about winter after winter after winter in this place of extreme weather that wears you down. Looking forward to winter? Unless it’s about economic factors such as selling cold weather stuff, who looks forward to winter? Especially the long winter on the Northern Plains. Up here a “mild” winter is an oxymoron.
Ya gotta love folks who proclaim winter builds character. They really enjoy crowing about how strong they are because of the long winters, and how “when I was a boy” – you know the rest of the story. The eyes glaze over.
Ironically, those who “love winter” and who have the means, skedaddle south when the first hint of frost kisses the pumpkin. They love winter, but only the winter of rose-colored memories and embellished stories told to the ice-tinkle of a gin tonic on a sun-drenched Arizona patio.
Hell, even the bison and jackrabbits know the score. The shaggy bison will turn its hindquarters into the blizzard to stay as warm as possible. The rabbit, on those clear frigid days, will ball up on the sunny side of a snowdrift to take in as much of the winter sun’s feeble warmth as a short day will allow.
I’m guessing that if they had their druthers, they’d go south.
Contact Forum Editorial Page Editor Jack Zaleski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 241-5521.