In winter the sun can be so pale, so weak, that it almost seems cold. If there is a good wind with it, the chill goes even deeper. There are bright sunny days – brassy, even – when the sky is clear and blue, the sun is full of that rewarding heat if you can be behind a glass wall or large window. The room where I write today is much warmer now than it was an hour ago; sunnier but still not that hot-house warm the body craves in winter.
Was there ever a time (save a July or August day in the city, or any day in the tropics) when I wished for winter? Hard to recall, but I’m sure there were such days. Of course, then I was in the Spring or Summer of my own days. Now, when Winter and I are synchronized, I begin to understand those whom we here in the Appalachians call "snowbirds." Those are our friends and neighbors who pack-up and head South to more moderate environments than our mountains offer as we approach the winter solstice once again.
We talk about a place that is warm in winter, a place where there isn’t a need to cut wood, split wood, stack wood nearly daily for half the year or more, a place where we won’t need a truck with a snowplow attached, or snow shovels and tire chains and all of that. Then we have one of those weeks like the one just past: sunny days, warm days, and we put aside those thoughts.
We are happy where we are, we like our familiar things around us, our family nearby, our friends just over the mountain. We even like getting the winter coats out, the feel of wool and down and fur-lined gloves. Far more than that, we treasure the serenity, the quiet and the distance between neighbors (a mile in any direction). It’s not so bad, this time of cold and maybe snow and a fire in the fireplace, of thick soups and hearty stews, of the scent of leaves and wood smoke, and we decide that we won’t make that move. Not yet, anyway.
Right now it’s time to put another log on the fire.