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I know a thing or two about winter, and I’m one of those people who likes to marvel at its beauty from afar. I sort of feel like I paid my cold-weather dues by spending my first 19 years in Indiana, and then another 12 in Iowa when I was definitely old enough to know better. It’s a safe bet I won’t be lured into venturing to Idaho or Illinois any time soon!
Since I was never one who enjoyed donning several layers of clothing just to go out my front door, the allure of sunny California has always been more than a bit enticing. I find this just a tad ironic, since as I write this, I am in California, and it’s a chilly 58° and raining. Yes, yes, I realize that doesn’t qualify as bone-chilling by any stretch, but let me point out that it is 50° in Indianapolis today. I didn’t travel over 2,000 miles from home all those years ago for a measly 8° temperature variance. Do you have any idea how this messes with my bragging rights?
Perhaps I would have been wiser, back in my youth, to have studied geography a bit more stringently. Yes, there are parts of California that tend to be warm and sunny. Parts of Southern California. Parts of the California desert. Even parts along the California/Mexico border. The part I’m in, however, which happens to be about 90 miles north of Los Angeles, tends to be a bit more temperamental when it comes to warm weather.
We have what is locally known as “June gloom.” Again, I find this ironic because it often begins in March and lasts until September. I suppose the local Chamber of Commerce at some point felt it necessary to shorten the duration, at least on a public relations level, because tourism is the driving force of our local economy.
Okay, I’m exaggerating just a bit. Not every year is accompanied by long-term June gloom; sometimes we actually have hot, sunny days at the most unexpected times. I can recall many a New Year’s Day where I was basking on the beach. Or a Halloween where the Santa Anas were blowing and our evening was a balmy 80+ degrees. But I’m just as likely to remember a 4th of July where the fog was so thick we had to cancel our fireworks display.
I’ve always wanted to like winter weather, much like I’ve wished I could like buttermilk, kumquats, and country music. You know what I mean. I see other people who are in their element when the mercury in the thermometer heads south. They ski, they ice fish, they stay inside and do crafts. Heck, for all I know they do all of these activities listening to country music and drinking a glass of buttermilk, while munching on kumquat jam. I, on the other hand, just want to head as far south as it takes to warm up.
But I do know better than to spend my precious time either wishing for something I don’t have, or grousing about something I do. Life is too short. I want to be one of those people who is happy where she is planted – regardless of where that might be.
And regardless of where I’ve found myself geographically, spring has always been my second favorite season. (If I found myself someplace where summer is sticky and humid, it’s been my first!) Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. It’s also a time when we plant the seeds that will grow and nourish us – whether they are actual seeds, placed lovingly in the soil – or symbolic seeds meant to help our personal growth.
This year I’m doing a bit of both. Since I do love irony (someone kindly pointed out to me it’s the opposite of wrinkly!) I am planting a kumquat tree in my backyard. My theory is that you don’t have to like the taste of kumquats to enjoy the beauty of the tree or the fragrance of the blossom.
I am also going to make a point of getting outside whenever it is chilly and damp. No more hunkering down swaddled in my comforter when temperatures dip – not for this girl! I’m going to grab my raincoat, boots and umbrella and head outdoors. I’m going to make note of every beautiful thing I happen to see while I’m out and about. I’m going to jump in puddles, sing in the rain – even put a little bit of country music on my iPod – because if that doesn’t put a little spring in my step, nothing will!
And just so you know I’m not aiming for perfection, I’m still going to pass when it comes to buttermilk – blah!