An Open Letter to Winter

23 March 2014

Dear Mr./Ms. Winter,

I trust this note finds you well. I gather you are, in fact, well as witnessed by the ever-so-random snowflakes cascading beautifully past my window as I write this note. Sure, this snowfall would probably barely be classified as a “trace” but – having lived in Ohio my whole life, as well as having endured the seemingly endless winter currently upon us – I know how quickly that can change.

I’m not here to “ask” you anything – like “Please let Spring come,” or to scold you, as in “Cleveland’s first snowfall of the current ‘season’ was 24 October 2013 – five months ago… There are FOUR seasons – everyone gets a turn and your turn is over.” Nope. I’m not going to try to beg you or shame you or reason with you. I just wrote to let you know, you win…

truceThat’s right – you win. I surrender. I give up. Come on, bury me in your Winter whiteness. Cover me with snow and ice and cold. Sentence me to live out my life filled with short gray days devoid of sunlight. I don’t care any more. You have played a brilliant psychological game, teasing me with some sun, then returning to cold and darkness for weeks; some temps above freezing, followed by a 24-hour plunge back to near sub-arctic temps. I am broken. I simply do not have enough “fire” in me to even bitch about it any more. It’s over…

Move the glacier in over Cleveland. Take me to your cold, ice prison and get it over with. As I said, you win.

With deep contempt and resentment, I remain,

Tim in CLE

Chillin’ Out When It’s Chilly Out

It’s happening, just like always, every winter. It’s starting to snow, and the world is getting hysterical…

The evening news is on as I type this, so currently I can hear the endless discussion of potential flight delays and airport closings, and blah blah, blah blah blah… Yeah, seems there is a big, significant winter storm immediately to our east, and this is a holiday week – the biggest travel week of the year, according to the stats they are reporting. But I guess, in my mind I ask, why the insanity? It snows EVERY YEAR come winter time, so – as a life-long Ohio resident – I say “Bring it on, Mother Nature. Show me what you got.”

snowI understand how bad weather can compromise travel plans, and believe me, I relate to the disappointment that comes when a trip to see family and/or friends has to be canceled. However, for the world to act as if civilization will end if we even get a foot of snow is ridiculous. And – no offense, weathermen and women – but even with your “Dozen Doppler Forecasts,” you all rarely get the weather right anyway. So, everyone? RELAX. Tomorrow will still come. It may be cold, windy and white, but we will be here. We will all survive, no matter what the weather is.

iglooI just heard the news anchor announce that Pittsburgh is a “…virtual white-out.” Hmmmm. That is not our weather here in Cleveland but, if it were, I would slip into my flannel PJ pants with the reindeer on them (one of last year’s Christmas gifts), load one of my favorite movies in the DVD player, make a big ass cup of hot chocolate, crawl under a blanket on the couch with my Beloved MSW and just relax. Relax and enjoy it.

I mean, what the heck? The holiday season is upon us – isn’t there enough to stress out about without giving yourself an ulcer over a snow storm? What if they sell out of the big screen TV’s before we get one?

Black Friday

I am just about “over” Winter…

So, today I am cold. COLD. Like, my hands and feet are cold cold.

I know I shouldn’t be complaining about winter – we have been very lucky in Ohio. It’s only been “cold” for the past 2-3 weeks. Plus, I am always the guy that boasts how I “hate” summer, this given that I dislike the heat, Ohio traditionally suffers from killer humidity for 3-5 months and as a “ginger,” I can sunburn walking to my car after work! Yeah, summer? Not my favorite season for sure.

But today, I’d give almost anything to trade this scene:

Icy treesfor this scene:

Tropical-Beach-Hawaii

And you know the REAL reason why? I mean, beyond the crystal clear waters and the pristine sand beaches? I miss color. ANY color. Winter is just gray to me – the ground, the sky and everything in between. Gray. Dull, lifeless gray.

I often joke that on my “Short List” of mental issues – mild OCD and anxiety coupled with some mild abandonment issues – I also have a mild case of SAD which I feel must be the most appropriately acronym-ed disorder in the world.

SAD = Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression, winter blues or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter. (Thank you, Wikipedia!)

Now, to be totally honest, I guess people truly affected by SAD can experience the depression in any season, but I have to guess winter is the most “popular” SAD season. I mean, who isn’t affected by the washed out, gray days Ohio has?

I guess maybe winter affects me most because of my job. As a designer, I am surrounded by color and texture every day and it stimulates me. Maybe that’s why fall is my favorite season – all the changing colors, trees with leaves/trees with out leaves, new textures every day. I love fall. Certainly winter has its moments – I find the beauty of fresh snow blanketing everything, making contemporary sculptures out of cars and roadsides, particularly moving. And ice storms, where everything is sparkling like crystal? Pretty awesome, as long as we don’t lose power!

But I have to admit, I still miss color. Even now, as I look out the windows, the sun is trying to shine outside but there still really isn’t a lot of color happening.  And that sun is feebly shining on dirty, gray snow and dirty slush. Oh well, I have to just buckle down, catch some sun when I can and wait. Spring will be here soon. Spring, with bright sun and colorful flowers, spring with blue skies and green leaves. Spring, the season of renewal and rebirth. Spring, glorious spring.

Spring – when I will finally be able to feel my hands and feet again…

 

 

 

These boots were made for walking, but not down any runway…

So, the weather here has been a bit crappy of late – cold, snow, “yuk” on the ground (yuk = slush) – you know, all the typical “winter” stuff.  As I have lived in Ohio for 99.1% of my life, winter is no surprise to me, more like an inconvenience or an annoyance.   I don’t mind it, really.  Sometimes I find it quite beautiful – fresh snow, everything all white and smooth, like a landscape covered in marshmallow creme.  Or after an ice storm, when everything is all crystalline and sparkly (and we still have power!)  But what struck me as odd today, as I was considering winter, was how I distinctly remember an entirely different winter wardrobe as a child, compared to my “adult” winter attire.  In particular, I thought about these today:

boots

Yessir, classic five buckle rubber boots, the footwear I HATED as a child. When did I stop wearing these?  I mean, I wear more expensive shoes now than I ever did as a child, and my feet quit growing many years ago (meaning I have the probability of wearing shoes “longer”) so when did I quit wearing boots?

Or hats?  I must have had a dozen or more of these growing up:

hat

I had black hats and blue hats and those weird hats you pulled down over your face like bank robbers wear. I had hats with stripes and hats with pom-pom balls on top and I may even have had a logo-d Shelby Whippets hat (the old scarlet and gray).  I mean, when – better yet, WHY – did I stop wearing hats?

I  proportionally have less hair now than I have ever had since birth.  The “place where my guardian angel sits” (my bald spot!) is larger now than ever – and men lose like 70% of heat thru the top of our heads in winter.  So, when did I leave behind my child “winter wardrobe” and decide that being an adult meant ruining leather shoes and having a chilly head when the snow flies?

I’m not sure what the answer to my question is – maybe its vanity, maybe its rebellion (Mom ALWAYS made me wear those stupid boots!), maybe its just the natural order of life when we “…leave childish ways and pursuits behind.”  I’m not sure wearing boots, hats and gloves are childish ways – I’m gonna’ have to revisit that and give that some serious consideration.

In the meantime, most winter items are now drastically reduced for clearance.  Plus, my beloved Martin always looks incredibly chic and handsome in his hats, gloves and scarves. Who knows?  One day soon you might  see me sporting a pair of  these babies…

They are ridiculously fashionable and sporty, am I right?

earmuffs