We all know the world is ending today according to the Mayan Calendar . . . well, actually they ran out of room and neglected to chisel a new set of hieroglyphics for the next century. That aside, (yeah, I know it’s hard to be blasé about an apocalyptic event, but Y2K had it wrong first), today is also the first day of winter and the Winter Solstice. It’s the longest day of the year which means dark falls early.
Seems like an odd day for celebration.
Usually, my husband and I will fill mugs with coffee or hot chocolate and drive around looking at displays of Christmas lights (not sure that’s going to happen this year as he’s fighting a bad cold). Occasionally, I’ve even packed cookies in the car to make the event more festive. By this time, we pretty much have a handle on the holidays. Decorations are up, cards are mailed, shopping is done, and it’s a time to kick-back and enjoy a bit of seasonal fun. I still have gifts to wrap, but I always reserve that for Christmas Eve during the day.
I can’t say I’m all that thrilled to officially usher in a season of cold, snow and ice, but there’s a spark of magic to be found in the mix. A stillness that settles on the land, especially at night, when the surroundings are wrapped in a hush. It’s an ageless music, underscored by a whisper of earth and sky, something the Vikings surely heard as they trekked across plateaus of snow ribboned with skeins of ice. As much as I could embrace a sun-kissed lifestyle in a tropical setting, I’d have to visit northern climates for the occasional dose of snow and cold. Sporadically, you understand, because winter isn’t without perks.
Cold weather is great for snuggling with your guy or curling up in front of a warm fire. If you’re the outdoorsy type there’s sledding, tobogganing and ice-skating. For astronomers or amateur stargazers, winter is the best time for viewing the heavens. The stars are like cut crystal on a bed of black licorice. They never seem closer.
You might say the romantic in me prefers to overlook the less savory unappealing okay, downright nasty features that go hand-in-hand with winter in the northern hemisphere.Things like snow shoveling, falling on the ice (been there, done that), scraping the windshield because-the-weather-guys-had-the-forecast-wrong-again-and-your-car-got-iced-while-you-were-at-work. There’s also the ever popular getting stuck on the drive home because you didn’t bring the SUV (see reference to highly inaccurate weather guys). And then there’s my favorite – – hives.
Yes, folks, I suffer from something called cold urticaria, a lovely little perk I developed during the Blizzard of ‘93. If I’m exposed to the cold for an extended period of time, I break out in hives, yet another argument for living in a warm climate. My husband tells me I’m like a tropical fish who needs a minimal temperature of 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit to exist.
So assuming we’re all still around tomorrow and the world doesn’t implode, what do you like most about winter? What do you like least? I’d love to hear your opinions as the solstice and the purported end of the world draw nigh. After all, this might be your last chance to share. 😉