Talking about Winter…
Of the four seasons, Winter is probably the least popular. Spring and Autumn usually score the highest. Summer has its passionate followers. That leaves our annual snow-and-ice season far fewer devotees. And for good reason.
Municipalities need extra funds for salt, plows, and over-time. Insurance companies see a spike in damage claims. The elderly are compelled to pit fragile bodies against stubborn environments. ER’s usually require extra staff to keep up with the frenzy of accidents rushing in.
To be fair, cops and kids don’t mind this season as much. The police often see less crime in the worst of Winter, while the kids see more wonderlands in the best of Winter
But if you are not any of the above, then you too are part of the everyday majority that shivers out of bed every frigid morning wishing you could just stay home. To you, Winter is the enemy. It’s that annual invasion that chills your home, freezes your locks, stalls your car, and grinds your travels to an ugly sonata of stop-and-starts.
Of course there is another side to this Winter’s tale. In a long-ago time it was simply part of living. Before modern progress did its thing, the land and the weather were far more user-friendly. Snowfalls and plunging temperatures were merely part of the rhythms of nature. No need for breathless forecasts reporting them as an approaching enemy. The native populations lived not fought these rhythms.
Sad to say, such co-existence is a lot harder today. Especially after 400 years of asphalt and concrete being relentlessly layered over the land. What a horse could once traverse, now a car may not…where drainage once was natural, now flooding may be instead…when rain once was welcomed, now it may be dreaded. The advantages of civilization are profound; still, disadvantages come with its progress.
How then should we gird up for Winter’s approaching onslaughts? Most of us will take a grin-and-bear-it attitude. Which seems to work most times, because, well, because Chicago Winters don’t allow us any alternative. We’re stuck with the mixed blessings of our asphalt and concrete world.
But wait! Maybe there is an alternative. Rather than gritty resignation, maybe we should watch the kids. Snow to them is a giddy mountain of possibilities…ice a personal super-highway of journeys… and sub-zero winds an invisible dance partner.
I imagine I’ll be thinking such alternatives all the way down the Kennedy tomorrow morning
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