When winter arrived last November, I began thinking about all the good qualities of the season, qualities which sometimes get lost in celebrating the Christmas holidays. Winter offers much to enjoy besides providing a setting for Christmas and New Year. While certainly the harshest season in the northern hemisphere, it can be enjoyed, even celebrated rather than merely endured.
I’ve long had a liking for Winter-but-not-Christmas, perhaps partly because of the stories I enjoyed as a child. One in particular, Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen,(Check your local independent bookstore) has been a favorite ever since I can remember. I was pretty pleased to discover that a recent hit movie from Disney, Frozen, was based on that story.
I decided several weeks ago to be particularly mindful of winter after the Christmas season ended. I promised myself to reread The Snow Queen and other winter-setting fairy tales, to watch Frozen, and to celebrate winter in as many other ways as possible. I had seasonally appropriate books to read, music to listen to, and recreational activities to pursue.
However, our weather has proved extremely unpredictable, as ever. My plan to celebrate winter has been hampered by a warm, wet January (see Easing). True, we did have a cold snap for a while, but even then we had very little snow. Now temperatures are in the low 40s. We can’t ski, snowshoe, or skate. Instead of snow, we have many inches of warm rain. There are plants sprouting in the outhouse duff bucket, for cryin’ out loud! This isn’t Frozen—it’s Thawed!
This is actually somewhat normal. Checking our weather records, I see that last year’s weather on this date was exactly the same. I have to go back three years to find single digit temperatures, and I remember other Martin Luther King, Jr. weekends before we began keeping records that were balmy. They seemed more wintry only because we had heavy snow cover on the ground at the time, turning to deep slush in the thaw.
I heed the old warning: “be careful what you wish for.” Warm weather in January often gives way to bitter cold snaps and heavy snow later on. February usually brings more than enough of both. Generally, it can be a more vicious month than January as far as severe weather goes.
Hopefully I’ll still be in a winter celebrating mood if it comes. Perhaps that will see me through till spring.