The Dead of Winter

I don’t know where the rest of you live, but I’m in Upstate New York. And right now, it’s the dead of winter. February is a tough month in my neck of the woods. March is even tougher because it’s so damn long. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind winter. In fact, I think it’s beautiful. And the holiday season just isn’t the same to me without the clean, white gorgeousness of snow. But the holidays are two months past and I’m cold. And I’m tired of being cold.

Of course, I go through this every year. Those of you who live in the north, do you have the same issue? I don’t despise winter, but when I’m over it, I. Am. Over. It. Enough already. I want to wear a lighter shirt. I want to wear my hair loose without static cling making it stick to my face. I want to get a pedicure and have people actually see my toes. And I want my creative energy back.

I think the sun affects my creativity. I’m in a much better, much more creative state of mind when the sun is shining. I’m sure there is some scientific reasoning behind it, but all I know is, I write less during the winter (and that doesn’t even count the fact that I usually take the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day off completely).That being said, there’s nothing more beautiful than a bright blue sky, shining sun, and snow-covered trees. Everything is so bright and clean, like the whole world just got a new coat of paint. Here’s a picture I took of my street last week, after a snowfall of nearly a foot. It was no fun to shovel/snow-blow/drive in, but it sure was beautiful to look at.

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My dogs have their own takes on the winter. Finley’s got a really thick coat of fur, so he doesn’t get cold easily. He is not a fan of summer, but winter is his favorite. He’ll stay outside with me the entire time I’m shoveling or snow-blowing and just watch, sniff the air, let the snow coat him. He’s very sweet to watch.

Finley in Snow (2)
Last year was our first winter with Duncan and we hardly got any snow, so this year has been like his first winter ever. And he loves the snow. He runs through it. He burrows in it trying to find the rabbits (or more accurately, the rabbit poop) that scavenge the birdseed in the yard. He loves to play ball in the snow. He’s really been entertaining.

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I guess it’s time for me to take a page out of my boys’ playbook, huh? Enjoy what we’ve got instead of complaining about it, sit my butt down and write. I think I’ll get on that right now…

How about you guys? Tell me what you love/hate about the winter season in the comments below.

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Beth

The older I get, the less I enjoy the length of Winter. Living in eastern WA State, we get winter…..gray days, plenty of snow and temps that hover around the freezing mark for weeks on end. Then, we get an Arctic blast that drops the temp but brings glorious blue skies. The days are beautiful but damn, it’s cold. I don’t mind the gray, what I do miss is the ability to have windows and the slider open, letting in fresh air and sunshine.
I know that Winter will pass and Spring will bring green back into the flelds and lawns. In my career I was a farm/forest appraiser and I loved spending my days driving throughout the County as barren fields started to show life. Wheat and barley fields as they germinate and prepare for another harvest.There was nothing prettier than coming around a corner and seeing a rapeseed (canola) field in bright yellow.
As I type this, I look outside and see my yard covered in snow but I can also look across the road and see my neighbor’s yard……patches of grass making their yearly appearance…..he’s a lucky guy, the road graders drop their loads on my side of the road and, facing south, he gets more sun. If this year is like most, it will be another month before my yard shows some green….but I do know, Winter will end and Spring will bring sunshine and light into my house.
My Golden Retriever, Jesse, loves being out in the snow. His heavy coat keeps him plenty warm. He’ll check the perimeter fence, looking for a fresh scent. He’ll lay on his side in the snow, rolling on his back and kicking all 4 legs in the air. When he is ready, he’ll come to the slider and want in, then work endlessly on removing the snow from his pads…………and this scenario will repeat, and repeat, and repeat..

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Georgia Beers

I’m with you, Beth. One thing I need to do (that I have failed at so far) is embrace the season. Get out in the snow — I have snowshoes I have yet to use — and try to enjoy it rather than locking myself indoors and complaining about it. Easier said than done, I’m afraid…

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Jami Jamison

Hi, Georgia!

I live pretty close to you (we’re in Irondequoit) so I know how this Upstate New York weather is. It does get old pretty quick. I think we must have the longest month of March than anyone else! And April can be a #@*son of a #@* as well, specifically when we get one of those miserable snowstorms just when you think you’re out of winter! That expression “March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb” has never applied to us.

My hands and feet are always cold. The windows steam up when I’m cooking. Shoveling kills my back. Even slipping on the ice kills my back. Driving in this #@* is a pain in the #@* (it’s always the other guy, right?) The floor from the back door into the kitchen is always wet. There’s more ice, then more snow, more back pain, then more wet mess to cleanup.

On the other hand, it can be great times. There’s nothing like falling snow and chilly temps to inspire one to get busy making those great comfort meals like soups, meatloaf or whatever warms one’s body. The smell alone is cozy!

Cold weather usually means cooler temperatures in our homes as energy costs are so great. This can be a fun part of northern winters: bedtime! The snuggling, cuddling, spooning and just any kind of holding (I won’t get into the other stuff- saving that for the romance writers), especially after all the feet get warmed up!

We were recently widowed when our cat and only pet, Grace, had to be put down. (I’m still looking for her every time I walk into a room, yelling “you’re in charge” when I leave the house and letting her know when I’m back home and I’m so trying not to cry here) Outside didn’t make much difference to Grace as she was an indoor kitty, but even she was so much cuddlier in the winter. We had her trained pretty good: under comforter, OK, in between the sheets NOT OK. Yeah, big paws to be filled!

So, Georgia, we Upstaters do like to complain, but we’re still here and (must be) lovin’ it.

Is it May yet?

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Georgia Beers

We’re very close to each other, Jami. Cool! I’m so sorry about your Grace. Our pets are so important to our lives, aren’t they? I can’t imagine losing mine, though I know I will one day. Sigh.

I agree with all your sentiments regarding the seasons. Fall is actually my favorite, for many of the reasons you listed. I love unpacking my sweaters and sweatshirts, our flannel sheets, making soups and stews, and not sweating my buns off. I just think that by the time March rolls around, I’ve had enough. You know? LOL.

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Sheri Campbell

I prefer winter to summer because health wise I feel better, no water retention to speak of. I just add layers of clothes to stay warm. Utilities are less expensive. No fleas or ticks.Lots of good root vegetables available. Spring, last about 2 months in my area of Texas. I love seeing new life burst forth in all things. Summer is nice for a month then it’s hot as hell. Need to stay in AC and everything cost more, you can only be naked inside. Between you and me, I have slipped outside naked in the dark of night under a full canape of tree limbs and leaves. Such a freeing experience, yet I keep a watchful eye for the neighbors, because if they saw me they would go blind. No explanation required. Yes, I’m retired.

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Georgia Beers

LOL, Sheri! I can’t say I’ve ever tried the “run outside naked” method of things, but my neighbors are pretty close and I don’t need the cops pounding on my door. LOL. But I agree, much as I complain about winter, deep, deep summer is hard for me. I don’t like to sweat. I don’t like bugs. Humidity KILLS my hair. Apparently, I am never satisfied. 😉

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margueritequantaine

I’m reading this aloud while we enjoy coffee and croissants outside on the upstairs porch this morning. There’s a soft breeze filled with the scent of Jasmine, the dogs are asleep at our feet, and the cat is on the ledge talking to the birds and squirrels a safe distance away in the hundred-plus year old oak that shades us from the bright sun. It will be 80° soon.

We left the north and the snow 23 years ago and never went back in either mind, body, or spirit.

As a child I hated winters in Michigan. As an adult I suffered them for 25 years in New York City and on Long Island. Even the photographs of snow make me shiver. But it is beautiful to see from afar. And your dogs are a joy to behold. Nice blog!

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Lisa Hurt

Wow, just reading this gives me a pause to remember how grateful I am for the winter. I am a farmer and one who depends on the seasons for balance. Yes, the winter months can be hard, cold and challenging and yes, it can be beautiful and a playful time. Winter also offers us the time of rest. Just as the trees loose their leaves and the flowers send their energy into the ground, and some animals hibernate. We need to remember to take repose. It is a time of tranquility and reflection. To rest just a little before the grass starts growing, the fields need tilling, the seeds need to be planted, the wood needs to be gathered for warmth for the next winter,the weeding that seems to be continual, the harvesting, all of the repairs that time brings and the putting up food for the winter. I think the modern way of living has removed us from this way of life and leaves us with that feeling of “being over the cold” and what gifts the cold actually can give us. I often reflect on what it must be like to not be living on a farm and not having to live according to the cycles of the seasons. Hang in there. Spring will be upon us soon enough. Spring has already sprung in western Washington state and I for one am already missing the extra moments of the stillness that winter brings.

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Georgia Beers

Thank you, Lisa, for giving us a viewpoint that doesn’t cross the minds of many of us. After reading your note, I thought, “Okay, I can deal with it a little bit longer if it gives our farmers a chance to rest and recharge.” 🙂

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Kim

Last year was a much milder winter in Upstate NY. Do you remember the 80 degree temps in March last year? It felt amazing but it also had a huge affect on the apple crops. So I guess we have to endure some cold weather so that we can appreciate when Spring does finally arrive.
My favorite part of winter is right after a freezing rain when the sun makes the trees look all sparkly, it’s like a winter wonderland.
My puppy got so used to looking for a snowbank to “do his business” that when the thaw came, he searched all over for a tiny bit of snow…the poor little guy forgot that he can use the grass. LOL

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