Embracing Winter at the Beach
I am not a Winter person. I can remember the first time I saw “real” snow. I was a sophomore at Valpo, and I walked from my apartment to my class at a turtle’s pace as I stared at the snowflakes falling on my mittens. They were beautiful. I had heard no snowflake was ever the same, but being from Georgia, my experiences with snow were rare, and mostly from inside the warmth of my house.
After that first big snow experience, though, I was over it. I hated having to bundle up every single day and hike across campus in snow boots. Three years at Valpo and three more at Akron Law and I was so totally done with snow. I moved back south as fast as I could - where I loved the occasional winter snowfall. Because it was unusual. It was beautiful. It was extraordinary.
And then we moved to Massachusetts. D knew winter would be hardest for me. He knew my thoughts about snow. And we knew Massachusetts sees a lot of it. But I'm a firm believer that weather shouldn't be your primary reason for moving - or not moving - to a certain place.
But ya'll .... winter is SO hard for me here. Cold temperatures start sometime in October and run through May - sometimes even into June. Half the year you're wearing coats, hats, and gloves. The months of February-April are just brutal ... because just when you think Spring should be on its way, you get whacked with a Spring snowstorm and below freezing temperatures. You can't start a garden until June - you don't get to eat fresh tomatoes until August - and then it seems like Spring, Summer and Fall all roll into one very short season.
It feels like the deeply cold days of Winter began a few months early this year - temperatures have been cold since mid-November, with single digit highs the last couple of weeks. While it was amazing to have a White Christmas, I'd really love if the temperatures would stay above 20 degrees. Anything much colder than that and I feel like life is just impossible. Especially with kids.
Just yesterday I found myself falling into my depths of winter despair. We bundled up and went to the library - and it was near impossible to get home without crying. The bundling and unbundling of very small children any time you go anywhere makes you just want to stay home. But when you stay home, your kids go crazy - so you feel like you just have to get out of the house every once in a while. Life will be SO much easier when we no longer have to deal with carseats and they can keep their coats on ... but with girls as small as mine are, we still have a few years before that's possible.
But some time last year, I committed to truly embracing the seasons. All of them. Even Winter.
So with the temperature nearly at 30 yesterday, and a reminder in my head that one of the reasons we moved was so that I could go to the beach anytime I wanted, we went home and grabbed our snowsuits and headed to the beach. I've never seen snow on the beach before. It was mesmerizing to watch big pieces of ice flow in and out with the waves. I could have stayed there all day had I had a fire or a big cup of hot chocolate. Well - maybe not all day ... that might be pushing it ...
When we made the decision to move near the beach, I joked with a friend of mine that one way I would embrace Winter would be to head to the beach with my snow pants on. Yesterday, I stayed true to that promise. And I'm oh so glad I did. I'm already making plans to go back in the next couple of days after this monster storm hits.
I'm learning that the trick to embracing winter is to lean in to the warm and cozy things you can do inside, while being crazy enough to bundle up and go outside just often enough to enjoy the beauty of winter.