Remembering Winter

You know, most of the time, I don’t miss the East Coast. This morning, for example, I woke up to a clear and sunny day. Everywhere I look, the sky is a brilliant blue, even over the City, which is usually enshrouded in a nefarious looking haze. It’s a bit brisk outside, but I can tell it’s going to warm up and turn out to be a handsome day. A good sort of day for clambering about on rocks, eating dumplings, and running around the house chasing a squeaky mouse. On the other hand, my friend in Vermont whom I talked to last night told me it was cold enough to freeze the testicles off an elephant.

But I kind of miss winter, real winter, on the East Coast, actually.

I remember the first snow so vividly. The night before was cold and crisp, the frost riming the grass. And I woke up to see that the entire world had turned white. The plows hadn’t come yet, and no one had been out walking, so it was like the world had been covered in a white blanket. The trees were stark and bony against the white, all the buildings were shut up tightly, and a few straggling bushes clung to life.

I walked out into the snow in shorts and a t-shirt, barefoot, and stood there for about thirty seconds.

“Ow,” I said to no one in particular. “This shit is cold. My feet. Are cold.”

And then I went back inside to take a shower.

I don’t miss the summers. I don’t miss the cloying humidity, the toweling off and being instantly damp, the oppressive heat. I don’t miss never feeling clean, always in the grip of hot humid fetidness.

But I do miss the winters. The winters were crisp and clean and cold. The winter was winter, straight up, no foolies. The seasons were distinguishable there in a way they aren’t here. While I would never want to live on the East Coast again, I do miss the snow. Sometimes I feel an intense sense of longing for the snow. I wish it would snow here, somehow, magically.

I remember the first time I went to the beach in the snow. It was a deeply strange experience. A great deal of cognitive dissonance was involved, with the ocean, and the snow.

I miss trees that lose their leaves. I miss the slow creep of frost through the ground. I miss the lazy flakes of snow that would drift across my path on Sunday afternoons while I was going nowhere special. I miss the trees severe and tall in the whiteness. I miss snowballs, crunching snow beneath my shoes, branches weighed down with an icy burden.

It just doesn’t feel like winter anymore.

It hasn’t really rained yet this year. I remember rain in the past. Is this global warming? Or has my sense of time become contracted. Maybe it doesn’t really start raining until January, and I am just imagining things.