After an unusually warm fall, it’s finally turned cold here. The wind smells like winter. When you go outside, the air bites at your face and your toes involuntarily curl up, seeking shelter in a crowd.
There’s still no snow on the ground – a light dusting on Tuesday is melted away now, despite the temperature hovering around zero. I wish it would snow, actually, a big dumping so I’d have a clear cut excuse to get out the big Frankenboots and my sleeping-bag-coat and the giant ski mitts, and be done with it. As it is, with green on the ground I feel obligated to stick with my shorter padded jacket and my cute little ankle boots and sleek grey gloves, all of which makes me feel like I’m in a video shoot for some pop princess’ Christmas song, but leave me shivering.
It’s supposed to get up to nine degrees today, and 12 tomorrow, which is crazy for this time of year, and I really do appreciate it, this last chance to feel warmth and wear the cute boots. But I know the real cold is coming, the kind that seeps into my bones and leaves me huddled under a blanket with a hot water bottle every night, which I suppose is its own kind of pleasure.
I always think something is wrong with me at this time of year, as the cold isn’t really all that cold, and yet I feel it so acutely. Am I dying of some dreaded disease? Have I completely lost the ability to handle a Canadian winter, and must become a snowbird, leaving my children to fend for themselves until I return from Florida, gloriously tanned, in April? Will I actually, literally freeze to death in January when days of -20 are common, when I can’t even handle going outside on these measly -1 degree days?
Then I meet someone in the grocery store, or the mall, and we make chit chat, saying how it’s cold out there, and ugh, winter is coming, and how these grey November days of cold rain and icy skies somehow get right to your heart and make you feel like you’ll never be warm again.
And just the act of sharing the misery with someone else is a bit of a comfort, and there’s always a peppermint mocha at Starbucks if you really, desperately need something to warm you up, and memories of sunny February days on the ski hill come back, and it seems maybe survivable. It’s always the transition that’s the really hard part, not the living with it. I’ve been here before, and come out the other side, and that’s what I’ll cling to for now.