Nip of Winter At My Door

After the record warmth on Thanksgiving in Chicago, Black Friday came with just a moment of light snow flurries outside my double-glazed windows. A timely reminder of what is to come...winter, my favorite season of the year.
Maybe it's because I was born in winter?
Once I told my darling son-in-law about my passion for winter. He just shook his well-groomed head and with that charmingly sweet smile he's bequeathed to our grandsons said, "Candace I love you but you ARE weird." Living in soggy soupy London UK had left him sun-deprived, winter held no joy for him.
But someone needs to love winter given the moans and groans it annually reaps from so many Chicagoans. While some anti-snowbirds can't wait for the diaspora to netherworlds like desiccated Arizona or damp cotton-wool Florida, those of us who love winter meet it by pulling out the Land's End coats and Smart Wool socks with glee.
How do I love winter? Let me count the ways.
For me the beauty of the season comes with that very first delicious frost, a cold that murders the rotting leaf mold that I'm so very allergic to. Bye bye Zyrtec, tucked away till spring in my bedside table.
I find a beauty in the naked branches of the deciduous trees, sculptural against the bright blue skies, exposing their fat little buds tipping their denuded branches. It's a reminder of the wheel of nature will bring that spring again, winter is only temporary-like we frail humans.
There is realization of how so very fortunate I am, sheltered inside a relatively warm home. Winter is no time to be homeless in Chicago-I remind myself over and over.
December brings with it an explosion of light and color, artificial I know, but with flashes of genuine human moments. Like this week when a package was left on a CTA bus, and another passenger jumped off the bus to return the package to its' the cheers of the rest of the bus. There was nothing in it for the Good Samaritan, just the communal feeling that were all in it together.
Hot tea is more comforting in a house kept days at 65 F. Winter suns more valued than in my years lived on a desert island. Looking out at yet another monotonously sunny day I'd grumble, "another damned sunny day."
And as for snow, the beauty of its fall compensates me still for the day after slushy mess.
So yes, I love winter.

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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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