…or at least work a much, MUCH shorter schedule. It’s freakin’ cold outside!
Winter took its sweet time coming to Chicago this year. No snow in October or November for the first time in years and the temperature stayed Fall-like. We all knew Old Man Winter would eventually turn up, but I know I got complacent. In the back of my mind, I think I really thought we were going to skip it this year.
Then the arctic cold blew in with a vengeance this week. As far as I’m concerned, that cold can blow right back out. I’m over it. I’m done. A week worth of winter is plenty.
This is my fifth winter in the Midwest. I have the coats, the scarves, the gloves, and the sweaters. I was willing to pull on a coat this week, and I grabbed a scarf. But the sweaters and gloves are still sitting in their spots in closets and on shelves, brightly optimistic in a rainbow of colors. They look pretty sitting there but that isn’t their role. That was proven to me today when I stepped outside to go to lunch and my hands froze during the 100 foot walk to the car. The wind slid into my coat, slicing through my torso. Why hadn’t I put on layers this morning, I had to ask myself.
In previous winters, the temperature has gradually dropped over the course of several months, the wheel of the year slowing turning from Fall to Winter. This allows everyone to adjust to the change in weather and accept the advent of icy cold, frequently crisp, air.
Not this year. This year we went from the 50s to the 20s in a matter of days. Throw in the wind chill and we’re talking single digit temperatures. It is freakin’ COLD!!
I like living somewhere that has four seasons, so I do appreciate the gentle fall of snow and the clean bite of the air, just as I appreciate the smell of freshly cut grass in Spring, the heat of Summer, and the changing colors of Fall. I know I should be grateful that Winter held off as long as it did, allowing all of us to enjoy outdoor activities for a little while longer, before blowing in with a great big puff. But I’m finding gratitude difficult to grasp this year. Being cold is one of my least favorite things. I handle it better when I’m given time to get used to it. The fact that Winter took so long to show up implies that he’ll hang around much longer into next year. That’s just downright greedy, if you ask me. Three months per season seems fair in my book. Winter should not be allowed to hog more months to himself.
Not only is being a month hog unfair to the other seasons, it’s got to be exhausting sticking around for four or five months, huffing and puffing cold and wind every day, spitting snow and sleet. Old Man Winter must be demoralized and dejected because so many people dislike him and don’t like having him around for long periods of time. He’s worked tirelessly for eons, freezing the ground, creating icicles, forcing the animal kingdom to hibernate. And, as his name indicates, he’s old. As-long-as-Earth-has-been-in-existence OLD!
That’s why I think he should retire. Don’t we all look forward to the day when we can finally say enough is enough and stop reporting to work five days a week, forty hours a day? Why should Old Man Winter be any different? His schedule is much more stringent than that of the average person. He’s earned the luxury of sitting back on his laurels and reflecting on a career well done. I suppose, if he’s not ready to go into full retirement, then I think he should really look into adjusting his schedule to allow himself more leisure time. Come to work a few days here and there, just to remind us of his existence, and then return home to rest. I could live with that.
I am organizing his retirement party. Watch your mailbox for the invitation.
© Hilary Clark and “Pining for Poetry & Prose: Pursuing My Passion”, 2010