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A Smidgen of Hope

IMG_0811.jpgI hate Winter.  Well, that’s not true.  There are certain things I love about Winter.  I love snow.  I love Christmas. I love a super cold, crisp day with a roaring fire.  There’s nothing better than the cuddly clothes you wear in Winter.  The hearty food that warms you right down to your toes that you can’t possibly eat any other time of the year because it’s too rich and too heavy when it’s 90 degrees outside.  Yeah, all those things make Winter almost tolerable. Yes, I said almost.  All of those things I mentioned are nice but the seemingly endless weeks of cold and grey I cannot take. It messes with my psyche.

I can almost hear my Northern friends chuckling at me.  Go ahead.  I realize for you it’s perfectly normal to be covered in a blanket of white from October till May.  However, down here, it’s not normal.  In fact, the coastal areas and deep South are doing good to see snow every 10 to 20 years.  It rarely gets below 40 or 50. And, there are many evergreens, live oaks, pines, and palms that never lose their leaves so there’s always a little bit green even when the grass is dead.   The upper South is not so lucky.   The upper South has more deciduous trees and colder weather.  I grew up in Nashville, TN and it’s is pretty bleak in Winter.  Nashville rarely gets snow but it’s very often cold, damp and grey.  Singer-songwriter, Robert Earl Keen, called it “suicide weather” and he’s not wrong.  The only thing that made the Winter even remotely tolerable was seeing the daffodils (we called them butter cups) and the redbud and dogwood trees start to bloom sometime in March.  Even though the trees were still bare and it was still freezing outside, that little splash of color gave me hope that warmer, sunnier days were on their way even when it didn’t feel like it.

I moved away from Nashville as soon as I could for many reasons, one being I didn’t think I could take another one of those Winters.  I spent the next nearly 20 years enjoying and taking for granted the mild deep South Winters.  Then, last summer, my husbands’ job transferred us back to the upper South.  Believe it or not, you actually forget what it’s like to have to own, much less wear, a coat, hat, and gloves.  You forget what it’s like to scrape a windshield.  You forget how long Winter feels even though you know it’s only four months tops.  Some would say I am being melodramatic and maybe I am but I felt genuine despair this Winter.  The cold.  The wet – we’re talking 10 consecutive days of rain. The lack of color.  All of it culminated into a fit of tears where I told my husband I would ride this latest of many moves out for as long as it takes but he better not ever move me away from the coast or above I-10 again.  He asked if that request was negotiable. I told him not if he wanted to stay married.  I don’t ask for much. I’m not a status symbol, keeping up with the jones, possessions kind of girl.  I think my request is fair.

The universe must have known I needed a lifeline.  This morning, on the walk to school with my youngest, I saw the trees pictured above.  This huge burst of white and a hint of green gave me hope.  In two weeks, when everything is blooming and my nose is pouring I’ll gripe but I welcome that snotty nose. Those allergy symptoms will mean Winter is finally over and I can enjoy the warm sun on my skin and fresh air until late November or December.

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