Daylight hours are shrinking away into the cold season, leaving me to wonder how this winter will be. We had 80-degree weather last December, but the year before that we had snow and ice. These days the afternoons are warm but the mornings and evenings are getting chilly.
During the summer the house would be refreshingly cold when I got up in the morning, chilled by air conditioning all night. Taking the dog out for his business meant slipping on flip-flops and facing a blast of humidity. Cicadas would start up in the mornings and you could hear them inside. That’s how you knew it was hot out. Now I put socks on, and sometimes a jacket.
Getting into my car to leave in the morning meant rolling the windows down first thing to let the heat out. One day I will get the air conditioning in the car fixed, but with the colder weather approaching, it’s the least of my worries. Instead, I need a few extra minutes in my day to let the car warm up. I hop in and put on the seat heater, rub my hands and wait.
One thing I really love about winter is the food. I can still remember being a child, being bundled up with coats, scarves and mittens until I could hardly move. I would come in from playing in the snow and say, “Mom, what’s for dinner? Oh yeah, soup again.” Egg-drop soup, beef broth, stews, goulashes and chillies are designated for winter, and a big pot of something good and hot was always on the stove. Hot beverages are great, too, like teas and cocoas. A slew of spices come out, and dance their flavors out upon your tongue in cakes, cookies, breads and a variety of dishes that get to be paraded at Thanksgiving.
The season change is an exciting time, but in North Carolina it can be hit or miss. Some years it seems the change of seasons happens gradually but completely, while other years we get left hanging, not knowing whether to wear a jacket or shorts. I hope she comes through this year. I want to snuggle up in soft blankets with my boyfriend and dog to watch movies on frost-bitten Saturday mornings. I want to build fires with my friends out in the country and drink hot chocolate. I can’t wait to wear long socks and hats. And did I mention how much I love the seat heater in my car?
Sure, there are things I dread about winter. The deadness of plant dormancy, the grey skies and lack of butterflies and flowers can really bring a person down. It’s easy to fall into the seasonal depression trap when you spend much of your time indoors. It gets harder to get up in the morning when it’s dark out and the heat is on and the dog has cuddled his way into your arms.
One of the best things about winter is the gift of spring the moment it’s over. Although cold and dreary, each day that passes brings us closer to running barefoot outside again, wearing T-shirts and fighting off mosquitoes. Each day the sun shines just a little longer, once the shortest day is over. Winter is the seasonal night, and there is nothing like waking up from it in this beautiful state.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.