October 22, 2002

Something Winter This Way Comes

Something Winter This Way Comes

Melissa bounded into her bedroom Sunday morning, in her typically playful way, jumped on me (still shrouded in slumber), and then peeked out the window.

"Did you look outside, Ryan?" she asked, and I grunted negatively, cracking my eyes open just enough to see Mel fully in awe of whatever it was going on outside. She then looked down at me with a big smile and leaned in to kiss me.

"It's snowing," she whispered after removing her tongue from my mouth.

I sat up with her and looked out the window. Indeed, the trees outside her window were sporting a puffy layer of freshly fallen snow, as big, sloppy, wet flakes descended to the ground and quickly melted upon impact. Oh, poop, it's winter.

I've been keenly aware of the encroachment of this accursed season, with it's sudden drop in temperature coinciding with a conspicuous lack of daylight. I've noticed the strange pain in my left knee as I run, a seasonal irritation that seems right out of the pages of The Farmer's Almanac. I've also noticed that my ambition levels have subsided considerably, and I find it more and more difficult to drag myself outdoors to run and to attend my hapkido classes every Tuesday and Thursday night.

My bedroom, now dark by 6 p.m., resembles a bear's den more and more, and I feel it is my duty to hibernate, as I tried to do last night when I fell asleep at 6:30 p.m. and slept straight through to 8:30 this morning (yes, that's 14 straight hours, almost a new record for me).

Each year, as daylight savings time draws ever-closer, I start wondering how I'm going to make it through yet another Minnesota winter, the interminably dark and cold months of window scraping and bundling up. How can anyone choose to live this way? The answer lies in the minute wonders inherent in the season.

The first real snowfall, the one that garners enough strength to cover the ground and hide all that is brown and bleak, is truly a wonder of the season. Every lawn becomes one and the same, and rivalries between neighbors to see who can maintain the most flawless yard are dropped. Snow is the great equalizer, forcing everyone to realize that, no matter how much money they make, they're not going anywhere until their driveway is cleared.

Outdoor Christmas lights, which were a novelty 20 years ago, now bedeck every house pretty much from November until late January, a celebration of light during a season when darkness seems to envelop everything.

Daylight hours, seemingly infinite during the summer months, are a precious commodity in winter, forcing people to really appreciate when the sun emerges, even if it is only for 10 hours at a stretch. And there's nothing brighter than a noonday sun glaring off a fresh blanket of snow.

If I don't acknowledge the tiny miracles of winter as they present themselves, I'll surely go insane suffering its many drawbacks.

Posted by Ryan at October 22, 2002 01:47 PM
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