Monday, March 3, 2008

We're Waiting …

There are two kinds of people in the world: cold weather people and warm weather people.

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


Anonymous said...

I hate snow days. Not that I've ever had one as your post so wonderfully posted out since... two or three decades before I was born. But that's beside the point. I like cold weather. I like pants and sweaters and I like boots. And I love my winter coat. So I like cold weather.

Anonymous said...

Nothing is more beautiful than a prarie covered with a blanket of pure white.

Anonymous said...

Those who told us we would miss the seasonal changes of the midwest are not only wrong, but are either jealous or crazy. We have been in Florida for three years full time, and three years as snow birds. We only delayed our move because of our daughter (the author of this blog) and my son from Frisco, who both miss having a Michigan vacation home in the summer.

Anonymous said...

If it can be between 68 to 75 degree with mild breeze on most of the days, that is heaven. No one will be stincky, people are less angry and more time for outdoor excerise...etc.

Anonymous said...

WARM > Hot! I tolerate winters in Chicago, at least this is what I tell myself, because it makes me appreciate the good (read that: warm) weather all the more. But as I get older I find myself thinking that's a lot like "it builds character;" and quite frankly, I have plenty of character, thank you very much! There were at least 3 days this winter, as I stood on the el-platform trying to turn the pages of the Sun-Times with my mittens - - not risking taking them off and exposing my already sensitive hands and fingers to the biting cold; and thought "I know they must need lawyers in the bahamas!" I am, in fact, a sun-goddess. I love the feel of hot sun on my bare arms, my toes in sand and waves close by. Cold versus warm, an easy choice - - cold is for beverages, hot is the desired weather!

Susan Bearman said...

My cousin, Betty Werth, a world famous writer (in Northern Michigan) had her own take published on this subject in the 3/3/08 of the Traverse City Record-Eagle. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

Wellllll..... What you said is wrong, Mom (not to say that you aren't always right, because you are always right, but you're not always not wrong) I would never dream of a snowday (except for actually during the winter!) because I like spring. Not Hot Weather, but not COLD WEATHER! Just... moderate weather (60-69) in the spring (like today).