Friday, October 27, 2006

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily....

My sister in law lives in Los Angeles, and often teases us about living in a place which gets cold, about having to dig ourselves out of the driveway after the first winter storm. It's not like we live in Toronto, but she's right: it can get fairly miserable here in January and February, and March generally pisses people off by refusing to produce any signs of spring.

The other day I was driving home, and the wind loosened a few handfuls of red and orange leaves from the trees overhead. They swirled down and around my car like pixie dust from fairies. I thought to myself, "This is why I live here."

Having four distinct seasons does indeed mean you have to put up with July's nearly unbearable hot spells and February's big snow storm. You have to own waterproof boots and a stash of sunscreen. You'll spend many an evening in your office parking lot, wishing you'd bought a car with a remote starter kit, either freezing as the engine warms or gasping for breath while the air conditioning brings the temperature down. It means you'll find the perfect sweater on sale and two days later it will be too hot to wear it. It means the only swimsuit to flatter you in a decade will tragically appear in a Labor Day weekend sale. It means you have to put up with a lot of shit, and you can't, as my sister in law does, wear flip flops to the market twelve months out of the year.

But it also means feeling that first crunch of snow in the first snowfall of the season, when the world outside is a winter wonderland complete with crystal trees. It means walking to the mailbox and smelling someone's fireplace in the air. And who hasn't felt completely secure after swaddling themselves in a big coat, hat, and scarf for a brisk walk around the block?

Daylight Savings time ends on Sunday. We'll be leaving home and returning in the dark. Socks will be a must, and my sandals have already been banished to the back of the closet. It's about to get cold, and I love it. The trees are painting themselves up like ladies going to a party, the hot chocolate selection in the grocery store is beefed up, and I have a killer pair of snow boots waiting for their debut.

You can keep your sunshine, California. I've got snowmen to build, and a different kind of warmth to embrace. The sun will be back soon enough.

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