I like winter when it follows the calendar, i.e. lasts for three months and then goes away. I’m a transplanted Southern California girl. When I lived in North Idaho, winter lasted for five months, from November until the latter part of March. (By the way, when you’re from Idaho, you say “North Idaho,” not “Northern Idaho.”) I lived in Coeur d’Alene for nine years and one especially cold and snowy winter, we did not see ground until the end of March. The snow kept coming and coming, and never melted off. I never thought I’d be so happy to see dirt as I was that year.
However, the worst aspect of Idaho winters wasn’t the cold or the snow, but the overcast, gloomy skies. In North Idaho, it is overcast about 60 percent of the year. We would go two to three weeks without a single sunny day. Because of the latitude, in the dead of winter it got dark at 4 p.m. Sometimes the clouds would break at 3:30 and we’d have sun for half an hour before sunset, and then we’d go another two to three weeks without sun. When winter finally ended, we’d have a rainy, overcast, gloomy spring.
I got to where I craved sunlight, and I dreaded winter.
Then we moved to the Seattle area for five years. We lived on Camano Island, which happened to be in a “rain shadow” a geographically “dry” area, so we had sun breaks – one to two days of sun during a gloomy week or a couple of hours during a gloomy day. That made it manageable. (My mom lived 30 miles away. It could be pouring at her house and sunny at ours).
We live in southwest Missouri now, where we have four seasons that more or less follow the calendar. Summer is sunny and hot, fall is crisp and clear, winters are cold (but sunny most of the time!), and spring is lush and green. The humidity of July and August is pretty oppressive, but I’d vote for humidity over a lack of sun any day. We get a lot of rain—much more than we got in Seattle—but guess what? After it rains, it stops! The clouds go away and the sun comes out. Imagine that!
I don’t mind cloudy days because they don’t last long.
So here in Missouri, I enjoy all the seasons, including winter. Among the things I like about winter are:
- Fire in the fireplace
- Soups, stews and roasts
- The quiet. There is a stillness to winter.
- Monthly bunco (we don’t play in the summer)
- Cashmere sweaters (In winter I wear cashmere sweaters the way I wear T-shirt in warm weather)
- Wearing boots (I have lots of boots!)
- Not missing out on a “nice” day when I’m inside writing all day.
- Hot tea.
- Christmas sales
I also look forward to the longer days. December 21, Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year and officially kicks off winter. However, each subsequent day of winter is a little lighter (by about a minute day). So, I consider Winter Solstice as the beginning of the end of winter. (Conversely, I think if the Summer Solstice as the waning of summer).
What do you think about winter? Do you like it? Hate it? What do you like/hate the most?