Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Long Winter

Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall, Which is your favorite month of all?  I remember saying that rhyme as a kid and the answer for me is easy....any month except winter!
 Summer has to be my favorite month simply because I can live at my favorite place for about six weeks.  Also living green things grow in my garden at home, and my flower box is a riot of pinks, reds, whites and purples.  The sky is blue and the sun shines.  The leaves on the trees are green and  my favorite fruits are ready to be picked and eaten.  Sandals feel so much better than restricting socks and shoes.  Skirts that blow around my bare legs and sleeveless shirts gives me a sense of freedom.  The feel of the lake on my skin is invigorating not shocking.    I'd rather have sweat dripping down my face and my hair be stuck to my neck because of the heat, than to have one blast of cold air on any of my exposed skin.
 I do not tolerate frigid temperatures well.  Funny how I live with a man who loves winter and despises summer.  He likes the cold on his skin and not the bugs that bite him in the summertime.  Plus he sweats buckets in the humidity and gets tired of mowing the grass.  So I guess it's a good thing we live in the South so we have a chance to experience all four seasons.
Plus winter seems so long, endless days of cold, sunless days.  Walks are rare and I resort to exercising indoors.  Why do January and February seem to go on and on.  It is snowing as I write this.  It's beautiful for a time, but soon the piles left by the scrapers are gray and dirty.  Spring seems like a dream and summer a fragment of my imagination.
Yet... I am trying to see beauty in the bareness of these long months.  I've always thought that people's homes look so sad in wintertime, every flaw and trash pile exposed.  No color to admire, as everything is brown or gray. But we took a three mile hike on Sunday.  The trail we chose, or rather my husband and daughter , chose, was the one at Chinqua- Penn Plantation near Reidsville.  Little did I realize that it was whopping 29 degrees.  However I did dress warmly as I could and by the end of the three miles I was beginning to regain feeling in my glove clad hands and  feet (that had  two pairs of socks on them).
 At first the wind and cold made my face feel like it had been slapped with blasts of icy air, so I kept my head down.  Then I realized that I could pull my turtleneck up over my mouth and nose.  That really helped.  In fact I've decided not to do this again until I purchase a ski mask.  Little by little I looked around as the girls got excited over "Little Niagara" being frozen.  I noticed that the trees were all bare and bent over like ancient stick people.  The lake was icy in spots.  There was no wildlife. We were surprised to see there was a fish lightening rod on top of the stone gazebo, something we had not noticed when the trees were in full leaf.  Bamboo does stay green, as do the wild mountain laurel and rhododendron.  I could see through the forest and past the fields where the 4H Betsy Penn camp is located.  We found a dump in the woods and Nan scavenged a old green Mountain Dew bottle and another green soda pop bottle.  As we passed the cow pasture there were quite a few newborn calves, amazingly oblivious to the cold.  My yorkie, enjoyed the walk, but was impatient if we stopped too long.  She got cold if we stood around too long.  My sentiments exactly.
 By the time we got back to our solitary car, there was another car pulling up into the parking lot with a little dog.  So another family was out to brave the cold like I did.  I looked at them as we were driving away and watched as they all put on ski masks.  Now they had the right idea. 

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