Do I Hate Winter?

Winter is that part of our lives that reminds us that our spirit is frayed by fortune.

January 22, 2019

photo by Larry Moy

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For Lin’s Bin, Debbie asked,

Do you hate winter?

If I hated winter, would I choose to live in a city where it snows from October to April?

What kind of idiot says I hate winter and then confesses he has no time share in Florida, no condo in the Caymans, no reasonable plan to escape a city that has become legend for ferocious weather.

Maybe it would help if we shared the winters that have formed the picture of a life spent with four seasons.

I see a hill scattered with children spinning on saucers and streaking on sleds shrieking with the music of pure joy? As a parent you hold fast to those moments huddled in a plastic toboggan with your toddler.

Saying, “Hang on tight.”

Saying, “Here we go.”

Saying, “Are you sure you’re not cold?”

Knowing the whole time you will accept the lie.

And you were once young, when the snow cancelled school and rather than cower in your home, you would meet up at the sledding hill like miniature Olympians. Daredevils in mittens.

Our laughter muffled by the quieting snow. And just as we cannot appreciate sweet without sour, we know how the radiance of hot chocolate returns feeling to our ruddy cheeks. Chocolate powder in hot water? That’s amateur stuff. Heat the milk on the stovetop but don’t let it get so hot that the skin forms on top. We would pump some Bosco into the hot milk and we didn’t even need marshmallows.

The aftermath of the sledding and I can hear my mother,

“Why don’t you put those wet things on the radiator? Would you kids like some tomato soup?”

Yes, please.  Campbells. Out of a can. With all your sodium requirements for the next month. The top of the soup garnished with some squares of toast.

With a warm snack, there would be nothing left to do but watch television with the impunity of the winter warrior.

Winter gives us time by firelight. Sitting by the fireplace brings back our prehistoric fascination with the flicker.

On a cold day in early January my father would take a hacksaw to our dried out Christmas tree. Methodically he would trim branches in small portions so he could burn them up in the fireplace. As a responsible adult, I can tell you this is a terrible idea. As a 4th grader lying on my stomach with my two brothers, it was better than fireworks. A piece of pine bough would make that crackle of instant incineration and it would be gone. Followed by another and another.

At times of extremity, the better part of human nature emerges. The neighbor who churns his snowblower half way down the block because why not?  The strangers who leap to lower their shoulder into the back of your car as your wheels spin in a drift.

Do I hate winter? I hate its cruelty to the thousands whose homes suffer from inadequate heat. Or all the homeless who suffer in makeshift shelters. Curled up in doorways and under viaducts.

Winter is that part of our lives that reminds us that our spirit is frayed by fortune. But it can be a creative time. A time when we are compelled to read or even write. I like contrasts. I like sad songs. I liked The Cubs when they were mired in a relentless darkness. And I live for the renewal that comes from the tacit promise of a gray January sky.

This was taken from the script of Monday's Lin's Bin. If you have a question for Lin's Bin, go to our Giveways page and click on Lin's Bin.