Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"I get a little warm in my heart when I think of winter"*

Warmth and winter (although a nice alliterative pair) don’t normally go together. Winter is a slow and quiet death that no one notices until everything within reach is frozen. I’m not a winter person. I was born in July, and I don’t think I ever got over that first experience with the sultry summer.

I’m not one of those hot-bodied people. (Well, I like to think I have a hot body, just not in the temperature sense…except that time when I starting having hot flashes, but that was just because of this medication I was taking…I’m too young for those other kind of hot flashes!) You know those hot-bodied people I’m talking about. They wear shorts in 50-degree weather and short sleeves all year long, and you’ll hardly ever see them in a sweater—never mind a coat.

Like I said, I’m not a hot-body, and most people know it. I get sweaters for Christmas every year, there’s blankets draped all over the backs of my couches, and I have a nice collection of insulated socks. I really don’t mind playing soccer outside in the 90-degree weather, but you won’t see me outside much at all during the winter. I did take up snowboarding, but that really only gets me out a few times a year (and I’m always wearing my waterproof jacket, my puffy snowboarding pants, those awful snowboarding boots, a hat, gloves, goggles…you probably wouldn’t even recognize me under all that equipment!).

As I look out the window now, the sleet/freezing rain/regular rain has left the world encapsulated in ice. A pretty image, but one that makes me want to curl up on my couch—with one or two of my handy blankets and maybe a cup of tea—to read a book until the world thaws out again.

Yet winter is not all coldness and death; there’s still life out there somewhere. The other morning, I was driving down I-95 on my way to work and spotted a grazing dear. She was a good ways off the road and her body almost totally blended in with the naked trees, but she was alive and well. The next morning I saw a flock of mallards waddling across a front lawn. The pond behind the house was frozen, but the mallards were still around. Then, just as I was pulling into the work parking lot, a flutter of blue caught my eye. It was a blue jay, out and about on a cold morning.

Don’t think you’ll catch me mimicking those animals, though. It has to be much, much, much, much, much warmer before I’ll go outside with nothing but my skin on!

*Tori Amos