It's that time of year. The time when snow starts to fall from the skies, when temperatures drop, and when all of the states where early winters exist are split in two.
I love summer. I love camping, rafting, going on digs, being able to just put on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt and being able to go hiking but I also don't hate winter. When I feel the temperature start to drop I become excited, I feel more awake and I want to go out and just stand in the cold. I love the first snowfall of the season, to put on my snow boats and trudge through it with snowflakes falling on my eyelashes and nose.
Yet, as someone who welcomes the first snowfall, however early it comes, with open arms I know the risk of dancing into work and declaring how happy I am. There are few people I know who are as eager for snow in October or November as I am. Besides my snowboarding cousins and brothers I don't know anyone else personally who feels the need to hike for miles through the cold and snow. Who just wants to be out in it, to feel the wind bite their noses and seep through coats and sweaters.
There are some strangers I pass on my daily walks and hikes. I can always tell they are as used to the cold as I am and welcome it as eager as I do. With their snow boats and scarfs, they smile at me and comment on the snow and weather. They say things like, "Nice weather we're having!" And I can tell when they really mean it. We share a moment of comradery, a couple of abnormal hikers in a winter world where any hibernate for the long, cold season beside their fires.
It isn't as if I hold anything against those who sit snug by their fires. After my hikes I do like to return home, turn up the heat, pull off my wet boats, wrap up in a blanket and make something hot to drink. I just have trouble understanding how one can live in a state with early winters and not take the time to enjoy the cold and snow. Fires are more delightful when one gets cold enough to really appreciate them.
I discover something new and amazing every time I leave my house. I watch the clouds come in, rolling across the sky. Sometimes the snow starts to fall as I am out walking.
Then come the in between days. The days without snow, when it is only cold. Days when the wind blows and chills you right to your bones. And days when the temperature rises, the snow begins to melt and the ground turns to mud and slush.
With the melting snow come the iced over puddles - those puddles which beckon, begging to be walked on. How hard it is to deny them, and how much fun to crunched the top layer of ice.
It is this world I have always lived in and would miss if I went to a state with four seasons which took their proper length. I'd miss the early cold, the unexpected weather change, the snow capped mountain peaks, the non stop debate of whether or not snow in October is too early. I love this world, this winter wonderland.
A winter wonderland filled with hidden beauty.