I waited until the last minute to write this and I think I am just going to wing it. I had in mind some things I was going to say, but winter hit with a vengeance tonight,(Thursday).
Except for a few scattered cold nights with frosty mornings, we have had, as last year, incredibly warm weather. I just returned from delivering grandchildren to their mothers. It is very cold with blowing snow; blowing being the operative word, as the wind gusts are up to fifty MPH…and I had to stop to pump gas.(I usually anticipate the need and try not to get so low or get caught needing gas in bad weather. I blew it as strong as the wind tonight.)
I grew up in the Washington, DC suburbs and enjoyed the snow… when we were out of school. I had to walk to school and in the snow and snow-turned-to-ice, it was not fun, especially since I am a dinosaur and we girls had to wear skirts, no matter what the weather.
As an adult, I was shanghaied by my sister to SE Idaho, where the wind blew all year around and the snow made ‘white-outs’ more often than not. The snow did make the mountains pretty, and, at the right angle, I could see Wyoming’s Grand Tetons out of my bedroom window in the far, far distance. That is where I learned that cold did not have to mean ‘terribly uncomfortable’, as the lack of humidity somehow changes the feel of the cold, or keeps cold from being felt.
I escaped Idaho after almost a year and a half .I moved to the Denver area, and the cold continued to be less uncomfortable…dangerously so. If, as tonight, I would stop to pump gas, I might feel OK for a while until I realized that my face was becoming numb and my fingers already were. You simply don’t feel cold out in the West often until it is nearly too late; that is where inexperienced campers, mountain climbers and backpackers get into trouble. We were usually careful, except I remember one night, after venturing out to a Christmas party; we knew it was cold. When we got home, my husband told me to ‘call the weather’.(I am really showing my age here; before cable TV, The Weather Channel, the Internet and Smart phones, we would call our local phone companies for a recording of the local weather…or to get the correct time.) When I ‘called the weather’, I found that we had been out in -17F; I would have felt colder in Washington in +5F, believe me.
So after 13 collective years of Western living, I moved East again, here to North Central Kentucky. I was concerned about the humidity in the Summer, as my sons had lived in Colorado all their eight and ten-year-old lives and had never experienced it. I had forgotten to contemplate how bone-chilling the humidity makes the cold feel. And my body is not following the usually family trait of strength into advanced age; it is not happy in the cold and growing unhappier by the day. Some people suggest that I need a milder climate. It’s not likely to happen.
Right after we were married, I asked my husband, (who was teaching Social Studies), if there is a place with relatively low humidity, and the temperatures did not go below, oh say, 50 and would get no higher than oh, the 80’s? He said, “The Riviera” I said, “And the chances of us ever living on the Riviera are….?”
Still, I know that as comfortable as that might physically be, I would not be comfortable with out some Winter, especially for Christmas. And here is Winter, just in time.