The Storms of Winter (tf)

I loathe summer. The infernal heat. The bugs. The sweat on the bridge of my nose forcing me to push my glasses back into place every minute or two. The harried “vacations” that leave me so un-rested that I long for the 8 hour work day as a respite. Bored kids. Mortal combat with lawn-mowers. Days that never end, and nights punctuated by the blast of assorted mini-bombs (some call them “fireworks”). I worship at the altar of silence. Stillness. Coziness. There is nothing silent or still or cozy about summer. Come June I am already desperate for the leaves to turn….and by August I need serious drugs to prevent homicidal rages.

And summer provides no football or college basketball, my couch passions. My joyous, mindless diversions. Summer is only baseball, which I haven’t really followed since I was a kid….when the left side of the Yankee infield wasn’t paid more than the collective GDP of mid-sized nations. I can’t watch baseball until the fall, when the games start to matter.

So it’s no surprise that winter, summer’s polar opposite, is something I hope hangs on. Bring on the late storms. The snow. The ice. The fierce winds and the plummeting temps and all the other things that push families together and keep strangers apart. I am fortunate to have a fireplace in my house. There is nothing more forlorn looking than a fireplace unused.

A few weeks back we had a few days of temps in the 60s. They freaked me out. Could this be the end? Could spring come early and steal my grey? All the snow had melted. People were outside running around in shorts. Car windows were open and radios blaring. The wind was no longer a menace. It was now “a breeze”.

I was appalled.

So a few days later when the temps nose-dived and we were buried with a fresh 10 inches of snow, my equilibrium returned. Then the “wind” came back with a vengeance…..driving wind-chills into the single digits and making that glorious moaning sound as it pounded against the side of the house after midnight. I was hunkered in front of the fireplace….watching a west coast college basketball game between 2 teams I’d barely heard of, but content nonetheless. My family was safe and warm and my insomnia had an avenue to drift down and when I felt the urge I peered out the window at the stars and the blowing snow that looked like tiny icicles and at the normally busy road outside that now looked empty and inviting…..the kind we used to play on as kids….never worrying about being run over by somebody in too much of a hurry to get somewhere non-important.

March is upon us. There’s something un-winter sounding about “March”. In two weeks Scranton will be filled with amateur drunks on parade day. The un-official start of spring around here. The line in the sand between sticking garbage cans in front of your hill section house to save your hand-shoveled parking space and wearing only a green t-shirt to stay warm….armed with a hand-painted face and the willingness to stand in line in front of Farley’s in order to drink severely overpriced pints for breakfast and throw up along the parade route by lunch time.

Ah, memories.

Yes. I adore winter. But I like fall even more. It means the end of summer.

–Tom Flannery

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~ by admin on February 27, 2011.

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