My relationship with cold weather has grown strained over the years. I don't think the weather has changed much, if anything it's gotten a little warmer right? So the fault must lie with me, as I get older. Winter is just not as fun for me as a grown up as when I was a kid. The advent of cold weather as a kid was exciting; it meant the possibility of snow days off from school, of snowball fights and sledding, and in my teenage years, of extra income from shoveling driveways and sidewalks.
Now? I just shuffled over to the thermostat and checked the temperature. Sixty-two freaking degrees in here. With a tiny grumble, I pressed the button to turn the heat on for the first time this season. You see, my hands are freezing and I've been huddled up in bed for the last few hours not wanting to do anything, despite having plenty to do. I'm starting to wonder if this season gets me depressed. It's almost 11 a.m. and I still have my heavy pajama pants on and double socks, including my extra padded red ones. If I could bear the thought of getting back into bed and curling up in my heavy comforter I totally would do it, but I know that the listlessness would just feed back on itself and make me feel more down about things than is truly justified.
I grew up in New Jersey, so I'm no stranger to long, cold winters. And I live in Georgia now, where the winters are relatively mild but still cold enough to depress my enthusiasm for life. In that light, my stint in Florida was quite a positive experience. Where I resided in Jacksonville Beach, the latitude and proximity to the ocean kept average winter temperatures far away from freezing. At worst, my hands would get very cold from being outside in a stiff breeze while the ambient temperature is in the 40s or 50s. But you could almost always count on the sun heating things up during the day.
I wonder how my kids will react to the cold. Will the relatively mild winters of their youth drive them to seek out cold adventures when they're old enough to decide what to do for fun? Will they eagerly embrace skiing and other winter sports that make me shiver just thinking about them? Taylor already expresses a preference for cold weather and a desire to move "back north" where she was born. I wonder how much they take the warm climes of the South for granted.
I think the worst effect of being cold is how it dampens my creativity. I feel sleepy when I'm cold. I'm not motivated to action. Overcast conditions are prevalent in winter; the gray skies coupled with cold, somewhat humid conditions, are a sure recipe for not wanting to do anything other than laying in bed and wasting time on the Internet. As if to underscore my line of reasoning, I just drifted off into a thought of walking to the kitchen and putting a pot of water to boil for some hot tea. Yea, perhaps that would warm me up and get me going, but the thought involved closing my eyes and then a yawn attacked my consciousness and before I knew it I was dozing off, right here where I sit, not even in a particularly comfortable chair or posture.
I lean over to the right and glance over at the liquid crystal display of my thermostat. The temperature is now 66 degrees, it's getting warmer and my hands are thawing out, perhaps from the warmer room and exercise on the keyboard. My brain is a bit clearer and I'm thinking warmer thoughts. I'm thinking of laying by an open fire and letting its warmth radiate into my face and skin. I'm thinking of the hot sweaty heat that comes along with making love under too many layers of blankets and comforters. I'm thinking, make that dreaming, of the heat that you feel when you've been laying in the tropical sun for more than a few minutes and the last of the water from your dip in the pool evaporates and now the sun's rays are really drilling into your skin and raising your core temperature and making you get a good sweat on. And you press your eyes closed and the color is red because the sun is drilling through your eyelids and illuminating your blood vessels and you start to feel really, really hot.
Yep, I'm warmer now. To hell with the cold, I've got work to do.