People, if whining and carrying on about winter were a profession, I would be wealthy beyond belief. I would be the CEO of the worldwide Ye Who Hate Being Cold Organization. I would live in the tropics and experience winter as nothing more than a rumor I hear from friends in northern climes. I would gleefully give away or, perhaps more satisfyingly, burn all of my long underwear and Smartwool socks. I would never need non-culinary salt, ice picks, snow shovels, sock hats, hand warmers, firewood and kindling stock piles, or extra heaters. I would never wear more than one layer of clothing. Sleeves would be forever an option. Truly, I despise the feeling of being cold, the kind of brr you can never really escape. I hate chills and hueless skies, those aftermaths of a heavy, gray shroud of gloom that supplants the sun and its warmth, that renders the vast horizon in any direction monotonous and glum. Drippy branches, soggy yards, red noses, clunky boots, thick marshmallow man parkas, hats that make your hair look absurd, the constant donning and shedding of all necessary gear...I am a full-on winter grump what with my Louisiana blood trying to course through my veins; this time of year, it is constantly foiled, reduced to proceeding at a seemingly glacial pace through constricted tunnels.
All of this admitted, I think and thank on these coldest, snowiest days, about how unbelievably, terribly lucky my family and I are. We have a home, warm clothes and several changes of them. We do have heaters and blankets and a fireplace and the makings for hot chocolate. We have these things regularly (well, mostly, Pepco; I do give you praise for doing a better job keeping our lights on this year!) and my children never have to worry about their absence or loss. Too many don't, and I am humbled by that awareness each and every time I worry about who's outside right now, who is freezing, lonely, terrified about how to feed themselves, their kids, their pets. My heart aches and I sometimes feel almost overwhelmed by my feelings of ineptitude. I am so grateful for organizations and shelters doing their damndest despite too-small budgets and staffs, to help and, often, save the homeless and unsheltered among us.
I'm going to remember this as I go bundle up to head outside to build snowmen with the boys. I don't want to go and romp in freezing powder but for me, it's an option from which I can bail at any point. And that is a true blessing and gift, and we are lucky.