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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Reflections on Winter

Friday, December 09, 2005

A debate rages in the far reaches of my brian. It volleys arguments back and forth as I'm making the frigid and snow-crunching December walk to my car, and it pounds the lectern and glowers while I stand sweating in the mid-day August heat:

Summer or winter? Extreme heat or extreme cold?

Usually, the advantage in the debate goes to the one not presently being endured; summer wins in winter and vice versa. But I perceive a change. Here in the throughs of the first major winter storm of the year, one that dropped temperatures into the single digits and delivered as many as six inches of snow, I thought to myself, "This isn't so bad; at least there's no humidity."

I'm starting to understand that, for me, the decisive factor is how inside spaces feel during the extreme seasons. During the mercury-melting and shirt-soaking summer, an inside space can, at best, be a cool reprieve; air conditioning and good air circulation can quench and refresh heat-sapped limbs. During winter, an inside space can warm one up. It can employ central heat, a fireplace, or a hissing radiator, but whatever the device, the inside space in winter thaws frozen bones and loosens muscles strained from the body's unrelenting huddle reflex.

I far prefer the latter. Nothing against air conditioning, but there's only so much it can do; it still takes some time to really cool off. But the warmth of a home in winter is irreplaceable. Surely, a cool space in summer and a warm place in winter are both gifts, necessities without which people die. I'm simply finding that my gratitude is far greater for the warm winter place than it is for the cool summer place.

Refreshment from the heat is good. But if I had to choose, I'm thinking more and more that I would take the conditions that require warm spaces. They ignite something sentimental and comforting, and they give rise to the imagination in a way that air conditioning simply can't.

Although, talk to me about this in January,after the Christmas lights have all been taken down.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 4:35 AM


Living in an area of perpetual summer, I'll admit to missing parts of the winter season. Unlike you, for me cold means pain as the wind chaps my face, numbs my toes, chatters my teeth and drinks the mositure from my eyes. I am listening to the bridge and heard that the wind chill is - 16. I couldn't help but feel some sympathy pains for all of you up north. I'm going home to Kansas for Christmas and it sounds like I'm going to have to rifle through my storage for my wool socks, parka and sweaters. Ho Ho Ho!
commented by Blogger Rebecca K, 6:52 AM  

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