Winter person or not?

Published 4:38 pm Friday, January 8, 2010

Nobody loves a snow day more than me. It is the dream of every student who didn’t study for the spelling test to find out that wintertime has shut down schools and slowed things down to an Old World pace. At least, that’s what happens in our area.

It’s always been so funny to see how much a little snow — sometimes just the threat of snow — can affect us so severely here in the South. At the mere talk of snow, we are all rushing to the stores for milk, eggs, bread, and any canned goods we can stuff into our baskets, preparing not so much for some snowflakes, but for Armageddon itself.

I’d like to think we just like to be prepared for nature’s chilly furies, or flurries, as it were. But mostly I think our rushing to make ready for a storm that will probably never come is a celebration of the rarity of one of nature’s most beautiful occurrences.

In an area where temperatures are usually balmy and overly humid at best, I enjoy those times in winter when the air is cool and dry and my girth can be viewed as more of a precaution taken for the harsh weather than a short meal away from morbid obesity. I also enjoy the prospect, or threat, of snow. There is truly nothing more beautiful or peaceful than watching snowfall.

And just when I try to settle in to calling myself a winter person, I get reminded that there’s winter … and then there’s WINTER. That’s when I think of those up North and in the Midwest. For them, the novelty of winter flurries has probably long since worn off.

With wind chill, temperatures have been in the negative range for weeks, and several more inches of snow are likely to be dumped on areas of North Dakota, Ohio and Illinois.

I was forced to question my level of commitment to winter weather during a recent exchange with a friend in Chicago.

“What’s the weather like down there?” she asked. I replied, in my most miserable tone: “It’s only going to get into the mid-forties today and it’s been windy and raining for days. It sucks.”

“Really?” she asked. “You know what the high here was today? Seven. I haven’t seen my front stoop in a month because of all the snow. And I may have even lost my youngest child at the bus stop. We won’t know until spring.”

For those of us in the South who are finding these chilly days to be unbearable and are visualizing those treasured days of summer — just remember, it could be much worse.

As for me, I may not be sure whether I’m truly a winter person or not — especially when I think of the poor freezing souls in the North and Midwest — but I still wouldn’t mind taking a trip to the store to stock up for a snow day that will actually happen.