The cold of winter is awesome – I love it. Call me crazy. Maybe it’s because I’m from Michigan where it is commonplace to drive our snowmobiles to work and break out the snowshoes just to get to the mailbox. Winter is when the gloom and doom engulfs everything around us. The reds, oranges, and yellows of fall are gone and the fresh colors of springtime are nowhere in sight. Heck, even the pristine snow that falls on the ground becomes soiled and sullied by the salt and grime from the roads and foot traffic. And to top it off, the sky is usually a boring grey (but I wouldn’t know because I’m in my office all day). With all the limitations on fun that winter imposes, like no sidewalk dining and the inability to hang out at the beach, it still is my favorite season.
There’s something about the winter that brings me down to earth from the lofty and joyous other seasons. In the summer, with the weather nice every day, I have no reason to think too hard about what to wear, how far it takes me to walk from place to place downtown, or to look out for obstacles in the way like I would for ice on the sidewalks or sliding cars in the road during the winter. In no other season do the feelings of complete powerlessness over my environment exist, but in no other season am I humbled by and forced to respect the powers of the world around us and realize what it takes to survive.
Getting a ride home late one night after dinner, bowling, and lounging with some friends in Boston, a question was posed to me – what is life’s spring? Some might say it’s a favorite place to go, others will declare spring has something to do with Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow, and still more will say it’s just a “health foods & juice bar” at Clark and Belmont. There are many ways to interpret this question, but my answer is simple. People.
In the summer, it is easy to take people for granted: Need a friend? Head to the beach or find a kick-ball team – done! In the winter, it’s not so easy and takes effort. Much like we need to wear extra layers and bundle up tight to protect us from the cold, we need to make an extra effort to keep our friends closer in the winter.
With the holiday semester, as I like to call it, winding down, it can be easy to tuck ourselves away and hibernate from the rest of humanity, not to be bothered by anyone. I agree that the opportunity is ripe to settle down and relax, but we cannot forget to also take a moment or two to reflect on the madness that has just passed us by. Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and New Year’s are times in the middle of this arctic spell where we are warmed not by our furnaces, hats, and jackets, but rather by our the friends and family. Life’s spring is winter. Stay warm!