We’ve barely shivered this winter. And even though our area has dodged many arctic smackdowns, some folks believe we’re still on the wrong side of Groundhog Day. That’s a negative viewpoint. There’s no wrong side to this season. We can be optimistic. Winter is cool, and I’ll prove it.
But first, let’s warm our imagination engines on the slippery driveway of the mind. Here’s the deal: Painter Andrew Wyeth once said, “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.”
That’s right. In addition to loneliness and a dead feeling, winter gives us clarity and a special intangible something. Who needs an overgrown, steamy jungle 365 days a year? There’s a mystery about this earth. We simply have to dig beneath the frozen soil to uncover more frozen soil. For this is not only the time you can see through the barren trees to notice some jerk dumped a mattress in the woods, but also your chance to exfoliate guilt while you layer on decadence and itchy wool. Behold the upsides of winter, in crystalized form:
Mosquito-free zones. My list topper. It’s all I need. These are the days I can sit out on my deck without getting 76 bite welts per second. True, right now outdoor metal furniture feels like industrial Freon tubing. But just knowing I could lounge out there without mini vampire drones is enough for me.
Dirty car exemptions. Though we’ve been low in messy snow events, even the chillier days give us enough ammo to say, “Why wash the car? Have you seen the extended forecast?” Others will nod in agreement, knowing your car looks this way in July as well. People are so polite. Embrace it.
Guilt-free TV binge-watching. In our household, we spent part of the college kids’ winter break trying to get up to speed with “Breaking Bad.” We didn’t make it to the finale — we’re still at the tip of the Heisenberg — but it felt good to crack the sofa frame and not be judged. That much.
No fridge, no problem. Say an ice storm snaps a tree branch, which then lands on a major power line. Electricity goes out. But! The Bud Lite goes out too — onto the window sill. Can’t do that after a spring storm, can you? Cheers.
Minimal yard work. The shrubs are petrified. The weeds are quietly scheming underground, out of sight, per Andrew Wyeth. It’s the one time of year your grass matches the OCD neighbor’s yard, but with zero effort on your part. Enjoy.
Body camo. The fashion term “layering” is really meant to pad retailers with extra sales, but we customers win, too. Our metabolisms are hibernating. We like snacks and lethargy now. Cooler temps allow us to get away with festooning the bulges, the flab and the softer spots so “the whole story doesn’t show.” Up with down vests!
Free art installations. I heard a meteorologist say this February might have some bite. We’re due. So what? Nothing compares to building that snowman in that meadow or letting nature itself sculpt the glassy icicles that pull down our rain gutters. When the light hits them just right, they’re beautiful, sparkly daggers.
Seriously, this is the only season you can catch sunsets striped with certain electric shades of salmon and deep turquoise-y aqua. There are no words to describe the earth’s crazy angle right now and the resulting colors. I’m merely trying. You just have to stare down winter and seek its beauty, because it goes away as quickly as any other season.
Like the bulky infinity scarves that threaten to swallow our heads, positivity is in this winter. The vortexes are coming. Be optimistic. For seven or so more weeks, the world is your beer cooler.
Freelancer Denise Snodell writes alternate weeks.