I’m gonna go ahead and say it: I’m not a winter person.
Sure, the sight of soft white snowflakes drifting slowly from the sky fills me with wonder, but it’s usually from the inside of my nice warm house, where I sit wrapped in a cozy sweater, and toasty slippers, preferably with a cup of hot chocolate. And even then only until December 26th. And then I’m officially done.
As a kid growing up in Mexico City, snow seemed strange, wonderful and fun. Sledding, snowman building, even shoveling the stuff seemed like it must be a good time. I remember traveling to Canada one Christmas vacation, and emerging from our minivan to look out on a vast expanse of crisp white snow. As my little eyes beheld the glory of it all, I did what any child would do. I swan dived off my perch on the van step, deep into the snow bank, and made a snow angel.
It’s funny how memories work, isn’t it? I remember that moment vividly, but not what happened next. Was I even wearing a jacket? Did my mom get mad because my clothes were all wet, or did she laugh it off (much more likely)? I’m not sure what happened next, but I know that in the 23 years or so since that event, my perspective on snow has changed drastically.
Cause the thing about snow is, it’s wet. Also, to keep it’s snowiness, it has to be cold. So, it’s wet and cold. And as I like to remind the Hubs, I was made for more tropical climates. When God knit me together in my mother’s womb, I was in Mexico.
And yet I make my home in a land where snow is on the ground for more months that it’s not, and where temperatures dip to -30C, and sometimes even lower (insert shudder here).
And so it is with great sadness and trepidation that I greet this time of year. I enjoy every plus digit day we have, I bask in every ray of warm sunshine, I cling to my flips flops until the last possible moment, because I know that inevitably, there will come a day when we won’t bounce back. Eventually, we will reach the point of no return where the temperature just continues to drop.
Here in the city where I live, that day has not yet come. But yesterday we had a little taste of winter in the form of a light snowfall. And I must confess that when I first laid eyes on it, I turned to my bright eyed baby boy and said, “Well, crap.” Then I thought about all the things I really, really dislike about winter. Here are just a few:
- I don’t look good in a winter jacket. They are bulky, and only contribute to my already big frame. Also, it’s annoying that you need a winter jacket to keep warm enough outside, but are immediately boiling as soon as you step into a store. The resulting sweat then freezes when you go back outside, and the benefit of the winter jacket is called into question.
- Toques are itchy. They also have a tendency to trap any moisture left in my hair so that no matter how long I have spent straightening it, when I remove the toque, I have a big mop of curly hair on top and long straight ends at the bottom. Hair disaster.
- Unless you have a remote starter on your vehicle, you have to spend 5-10 minutes in a freezing cold car before you can drive it. Furthermore, by the time the car is warmed enough to begin pumping actual hot air through it’s vents, you have more often than not already arrived at your destination.
- Trudging through snow is a skill and talent, which I do not possess. I once got stuck in thigh deep snow in the field outside the hospital where I work (six months pregnant, by the way) and had to crawl on my hands and knees until I found the safety of the hard, dry, trustworthy sidewalk. The ER patients got a little show to go with their wait time that night.
Obviously, I could go on, but it comes down to this: I am not a winter person. No, I do not want to try snowboarding this year. No, I don’t want to go for a walk when breathing hurts my lungs. No, I don’t want to participate in a game that takes place indoors but on a sheet of ice (curling). No. Just no.
But alas, short of becoming a house-ridden recluse for six to seven months, or moving (which does get monthly consideration), I have no real choice. I have prayed that God would just get rid of winter, but this is one prayer that He, in His wisdom, has chosen to ignore. The one choice I do have, however, is my attitude. I can grumble, complain, gripe and groan all winter long, but in the end all that moaning achieves is a grumpy, miserable me. Or, I can choose a different attitude. I can choose to enjoy the rush of careening down a frozen hillside on a piece of plastic. I can choose to relish the tingle in my cheeks and the big puffs of my billowy breaths as I walk through the river valley.
And isn’t that true in life? The Facebook status that offended, the bad day at work, the sibling rivalry, or broken friendship, the tension between lovers after a fight. There are so many things that come at us in a day. And we can choose to focus on the negative, to wallow in our self-righteous anger, because maybe we have every right to say, “This stinks.” But if we choose a new attitude, we might gain a new experience. And that new experience might lead to a whole new perspective.
Which is why yesterday, when I first laid eyes on all that snow, I turned to my bright eyed baby boy and said “Well, crap.”
And then we built a snowman.