The sun didn’t shine for the first three days during our visit home from our sailing adventure. The sky was gray. The roads were gray. The buildings were gray. It was almost like we had spent the last four months living in color, and God, playing some sort of reverse Oz, switched everything to black and white.
Instead of Hibiscus, Anthurium and Bougainville, there were bare trees, dead leaves, and brown grass. Instead of the sounds of birds, bees, and waves slapping the side of the boat, there was the constant blow of the heater. Instead of the heat of the sun, there was a cold that crept into my bones.
I must not be a plum, because it wasn’t the sun that caused me to dry up like a raisin, it was the cold. It hit my face, and my nose started to stuff. My face and eyes dried out, and my lips chapped like they have never chapped before. The only warmth I encountered (and I in no way mean to trivialize this) was the warmth of friendship and family, meals together, laughter, singing, conversation, small kindnesses and hugs. This alone made the cold tolerable. It’s amazing how friends and family can warm a heart.
Having lived in New England for close to six decades, I always felt so fortunate to live in an area with four seasons. I loved seeing the leaves on the trees turn gold and orange, the acorns fall from the trees. I loved seeing the sailboats dot the Charles, the trees and flowers in full bloom. I loved when crocuses poked through the last vestiges of snow on the ground. (Actually, anyone who lives here really knows this is BS– there is really no such thing as spring in New England–but I am taking artistic license here to make my point).
And until this year, I also loved winter. Après ski with hot toddies, glowing fireplaces, s’mores, skating, cashmere sweaters, sledding.
But the New England winter is gray, very gray. More gray than I ever realized. And when the sun does shine, it sets (sans sunset) before cocktail hour. I need longer days and a little more color.
I know that if you spend your winters in New England you “get used to it.”
I understand there is appropriate outerwear to keep you comfortable.
I know there are snow tires to keep you safe, fireplaces to keep you cozy, and activities to give you a little fresh air. And I truly believe that after a fresh snowfall, when the snow and ice clings to the trees and shimmers in a rare day of sunshine, it is downright beautiful.
But it may be that at some stage in life, no matter how much you have loved it in the past, how tough you have been, how much you scorned people who went south for the winter, you just don’t want to deal with icy sidewalks, snowy cars, and frigid temperatures. Since I now dream of sunsets, warm water, sundresses and no bra, I think I may now be at that stage.
Please don’t make fun of me,