I never thought I'd be able to say that I love winter. I grew up freezing all winter in the ice storms in Washington DC, the cold that eats right through you in England, and the piles of snow in Utah. Then I lived in Boston on and off for 10 years. Wow, that place is bone-chilling in the winter! And the last winter I lived there went on for seriously six months. Winter was just something you had to deal with. I didn't really think about whether I liked it or not. Winter was just this undeniable fact of life.
When Jared was finishing his degree, we looked at jobs all over the country and when he got an offer in California, the idea of saying goodbye to winter was a very exciting idea. Then, when it was time to leave the Bay Area with five preschoolers in tow, I wanted a place where we could easily get outside year round without the hassle of bundling up so many little bodies. So we settled on St George. Living in a place with a warm climate was wonderful. We hiked and biked all winter long. We enjoyed the subtle changing of the seasons. In California, the leaves turned gaudy colors and feel just before Christmas, it rained and was in the 50's for a while, then spring with riotous green and flowers everywhere came somewhere around February. In St George, we loved having some cooler weather in the winter and the excitement of having a skiff of snow a couple times a year as well as the amazing beauty of the cactus flowers in the spring.
When Jared got a job here in Ogden and we realized that moving here was the right thing, I braced myself. Oh no. Real winter again. And that first winter it snowed and snowed and snowed - from the day we moved in in November right up into May. I missed my California and St George winters (and especially the garage I'd had in St George) as I scraped the snow off my car day after day. The kids had fun building snow forts and having snow-ball battles but winter was just something to be endured as far as I was concerned. I sat here holed up in this drafty old house, waiting for spring.
Two years later, I've now come to love winter. I've learned to embrace it. I'm entranced by the beautiful patterns in ice and snow.
I love the excitement of a snow storm when the big flakes keep coming down and piling up (as long as I don't have anywhere to go - driving in snow is never going to be something I enjoy). I love how snow renews everything with this clean sparkling blanket. I love the chiseled white peaks of the mountains (especially when it's clear - some days we've sadly had horrible pollution haze).
I love it when the cold grabs me, brings color to my cheeks and makes me want to get my blood pumping. I've come to really love running and hiking in the cold and even in snow storms (but I draw the line when we get down into the single digits temperature-wise). I've been running outside pretty much every week and have hiked the beautiful snowy mountains again and again. It makes me feel tough and envigorated and so alive to be out there immersed in winter. I even really like shoveling snow (I'd much rather get a workout doing that than going to the gym - what a sense of accomplishment I get when I've shoveled the whole driveway!).
Like so many things in life, it's hard to love something you don't really engage with. Now that I'm really participating in winter, it's much better.
Of course, I'll also be really happy when spring comes. It's much easier to love something that you know won't last. I really love having four distinct seasons and enjoying each to the hilt.
So here's to winter as something to be enjoyed, not just endured!
Here's our hike to a frozen waterfall last weekend: