My best local friend lives for "sweater weather", as she calls it, and only survives the Chicago summer with beaucoup BTUs of air conditioning. My cousin and her family — skiers all — sink into a giant funk when the thermometer tops 35°F. Even my kids claim to love winter, but I know they are really just hoping for a snow day (which hasn't happened in our district since 1967).
In case you haven't gathered by my tone, I am a warm-weather person. I love everything about summer: flowers and flip-flops, popsicles and pool passes, sunscreen and sprinklers.
Why then, you may ask (as my San Francisco-based brother does frequently), do I live in the frozen wasteland that is the greater metropolitan Chicago area? It's a legitimate question.
This winter has seemed particularly brutal. Maybe it's my age. Although the temperature has only averaged about 1.5° below the norm of 24.5°F, it has seemed much colder. Perhaps it is the 52.4 inches of snow (so far) — 14 inches more than we usually get — that has made this winter seem eternal. Enough already!
So back to the original question: why would anyone choose to live in a place that endures weather-wrought potholes, excessive wind chill factors and frostbite warnings? For me, it's a matter of appreciation.
People who live in temperate climates do not fully appreciate freak record highs, like the 65° we reached on January 7. They do not luxuriate across a blue carpet of Chionodoxa (Glory-of-the-snow), those tiny, star-shaped flowers that chase away the snow. They do not come out of hibernation en masse to garden or bike ride or simply be outside on that first truly glorious day of the year. Oh, we know the temperature will drop below freezing again and that there is probably more snow on the way, but that just makes our first fair day all the sweeter.
You will notice that I haven't mentioned the word "spring" in this conversation. We don't actually have spring here in Chicago-land. We have winter, followed by a brief period of filthy, mucky grayness, and then it's straight to 90° and humid.
Today is March 4 and the five-day forecast does not call for anything above freezing. But, it's coming. It's in the air. We're ready, and when that day finally comes, we'll be here — joyful, grateful and a little wiser for the wait.
Click here to let me know whether you prefer warm weather or cold weather, or email me at 2KoPeople@gmail.com.