It’s that magic time of year again, so very brief but so very wonderful. I am a winter person. Not for me the long hot summers. I can never wait for them to end.
This was not always so. As a child I lived for several years in SE Asia, where my dad was employed and I grew accustomed to the heat. So when, to my disgust, I was sent back to boarding school in England, I did not like the cold one bit. It didn’t help that it was the coldest winter in something like 80 years. In those days I could hardly find a single thing to like about being in England, so when I was sent to live on Long Island with my lovely aunty Kay, I did not look back.
In retrospect, I realized that my feelings for England had largely been influenced by my father’s opinions. As an airline employee I was able to make many trips back, when I was older, and now I have only good memories of what I still regard as my “homeland”.
Those first winters in New York seemed very cold, but whereas the dormitory of my English boarding school had not been heated, on Long Island I never shivered in my bed, or woke to find I could not brush my teeth because the pipes were frozen! So, while Winter certainly had it’s inconveniences, I morphed into a winter person.
For me there is no earthly image more beautiful than a snows-cape. Nor is there anything, to me, more spiritual than a frigid moonlit night in the “wilds”. I first experienced this in Maine where my aunt lived in her retirement, and now I am in upstate New York, where I realize I should have been long ago. The night of the lunar eclipse I bundled up and stood with snow up to my knees, gazing aloft, exhilarated by the cold (4 below 0 F, as I recall), and in awe of the spectacle above and of the total, overwhelming silence.
Yes, I am a winter person. But there is also this very brief period that I referred to at the start, the very earliest part of Spring, when the sap has been flowing long enough to bring forth the tiniest, tentative hints of green. You can barely see it at the start, but after the first warm day you suddenly realize the world is once more alive. For a scant few days then, you still can see the skeletons of trees and the nascent leaves appear in the freshest most lovely colours of Nature, greens I am sure exist nowhere else.
And then it’s over. The trees are back in leaf, flowers blooming everywhere, throw off your jackets and your coats, get out the summer gear. It’s a wonderful thing. For some people. Not for me. From the middle of Spring until the leaves begin to turn, is for me like wearing a slightly uncomfortable set of clothes, nothing to complain about, just not my choice.