Wednesday, June 30, 2021

I grew to hate Winter

Winter has been my least-favourite season (to be nice) for decades. I’ve written about that several times before, but it was all dredged up by a FB Memory served up to me a few days ago. The photo (at left) and its caption made me think about winter, of course, but also far more. I wrote a long post, but eventually killed it in favour of something more banal (I liked the photo well, enough, and I always like an opportunity to compare/contrast things like weather for my American whānau). This post is what I wanted to say that day.

Three years ago, Auckland was hit with hail, which I blogged about at the time. That “hail” was kind of an insult to the word from my perspective as a native of the USA’s Midwest, but it was was kind of typical of what I’ve seen in New Zealand. In fact, I can only remember one time we got some serious hail (back in 2015), and it’s a good thing that one time is it. So is the fact we don’t get snow in the northern parts of New Zealand (not counting the odd dusting in some spots—nothing sticks around). I still hate Winter as much as I did when I left Chicago (mere days after the area’s first snowfall of 1995…), but at least winters here are nothing like what I left behind. That’s definitely a very good thing.

While Northern Illinois winters eventually made me grow to hate Winter as a season, I actually don’t like the much, much milder Winters in northern New Zealand, either. They’re milder, yes, but, in general, Hamilton Winters are colder than my Auckland Winters were (in general) and cold temperatures are what I dislike the most. But yeah, at least there’s no snow.

The photo above is a much more melancholy scene for me now than it was at the time—after all, that hail was about as bad as what we got anywhere we lived, and ir wasn’t especially unique. Thing is, that Winter turned out to be second to last one Nigel and I ever had together. The following year, some three days before the September Equinox, he’d be dead and I’d be a widower. And it’s felt like Winter ever since.

Winters always have nice days, even beautiful ones, with sunshine and sometimes warmth. But there are also days that will push you over and remind you that it’s still Winter—cold, dreary, damp, maybe even windswept and barren, or maybe just wet, or even very wet, and sometimes with hail that pelts you and hurts you as it falls.

Profound grief is exactly like that: Some days can be warm and sunny, but inevitably the cold and damp and wet will return. The presence of one doesn’t prevent the other from reappearing, nor is either one permanent. But the Winter that is grief will sometimes push you over and remind you that it’s still Winter, that the warmth and renewal of Spring is still a long way off.

I’m lucky in that I have mostly okay days—not necessarily sunny and warm (though I have those, too), but also not always cold and damp and wet. I know, or maybe hope, that my own Spring will eventually arrive, but I’m always aware that it’s really still Winter. Right now, that metaphorical Winter is having a decent patch (the physical one, not so much…). And that’s good enough.

A three year old photo made me think about all that. Because it’s winter, literally and figuratively, it’s easy to do.


As it happens, there was another day of hail in 2018, in September of that year, a couple days before the 2018 September Equinox. Nigel died less than a year later.


Roger Owen Green said...

Winters, in general, are milder in the US in recent years. This is NOT good news

Arthur Schenck said...

No, it isn't. Here, the topic has been how much worse this year has been, though previous years were milder.