Cold and Dark and Wonderful

I really enjoy the variety of the seasons. My favorite season is the summer, but the other three are wonderful. As winter descends upon Pennsylvania (if you use the meteorological definition of winter it is here, if you use the astronomical definition it’s imminent) I’m reminded of the parts I love about it. At the core is the fact that the winter is cold and dark. Coldness and darkness might not seem like things to be loved, but here is why I appreciate them for a season.

The Cold

I like the cold in moderation. Something about a deep breath of cold air makes me feel particularly alive. The cold also provides a wonderful setting for Christmas. Snow, evergreens, coats, and scarves are part of the festivities.

Despite having its own merit the cold is best playing the role of a foil. After walking or biking home from campus in December my appreciation for a steaming mug of tea is substantially higher than it would be on a July afternoon. A chilly apartment–with a drafty sliding door in my bedroom–might seem like a bad thing, yet it makes lying in a warm bed on a frigid December morning more comfortable than you can imagine. Coldness helps me appreciate the full glory of warmth.

The Dark

I like the night. I’ve always been a night owl, so I associate darkness with the time I feel most awake and function the best. For this reason I do not feel depressed when it is dark. In the summer I appreciate the extended daylight because it facilitates outdoor activities (and allows plants to meet their photosynthetic requirements). When the winter rolls around I love curling up on my couch with a good book in the early evening and seeing darkness outside. The winter is prime reading season (all seasons are good, but the winter is extraordinary). The early darkness also allows Christmas lights to shine. Traversing the neighborhood is enjoyable in the evening, for the various lights provide an essence of festivity.

Winter: Miscellaneous Good Things

Dark Beer – Winter is a time for porters, stouts, and dark lagers.

Chili – I believe chili is good all the time, but I cannot deny that it is even better in the winter.

The Hot Stove League – This is a term used to describe the discussions and debates that take place during the baseball off-season. The phrase hot stove league conjures up an image in my mind. An image of a country store with scuffed floor boards, a big barrel of peanuts, and burlap bags of flour propped up against the checkout counter. In the corner sits an old pot belly stove, with a few rocking chairs around it. Around that stove old baseball fans congregate to reminisce about the things they’ve seen and talk about the coming season.

Snow – I think snow is great, in the winter. Walking on a fresh snowfall on a cold day produces a wonderful crunching sound. This morning as I walked to campus the sound of my footsteps made me smile.

I’ll enjoy the winter while it is here. By the time February rolls around I’ll be ready for the spring.

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