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Cold Weather and Warm Hearts

November 20, 2009

For the last few weeks (has it really been a few weeks already?), I’ve been relishing being back in the cold weather. This is probably an odd statement for many people. Who wants to be freezing cold? Spending the first part of their day scraping ice from their car windshields? And why would you want to spend most of your time warming up frozen digits? But to me it’s wonderful. I love bundling up in my sweaters and thick coats. I love the way my breath billows out in thick clouds. I love the way the stars seem to shine that much brighter in the cold night air. But aside from personal preference I truly believe the cold makes more interesting people. I won’t say “better people”. I think there are plenty of jerks raised in cold weather, and plenty of fascinating warm weather folk. But in general I think the cold weather makes its occupants more spirited individuals.

It may sound silly, but I truly believe that the North won the largely due to the fact that they lived in colder weather. I think living through a cold New England winter better prepares you for taking a bullet than sipping lemonade on a porch in balmy Carolina weather (granted this theory comes from the same mind that believes grits were developed as a punishment to the South [jokingly of course]). I think the cold weather makes you tougher. For no matter how warmly you dress the cold air always seems to permeate into your being. One learns that no matter how many layers you put on no external change is going to create a final fix to your cold condition. Instead the cold dweller learns to toughen up. To create those mini-shivers down the spine to warm your core and to stick-through until your car’s heater warms up. The real trick to living in the cold is to toughen the stuff on the inside, not add more layers on the outside; that or move to a warmer climate. But anyone can live in a warmer climate, it takes a unique character to last it out in the cold. 

There is an art to living in cold weather. In cold weather one must learn to assess the outside temperature then apply the proper amount of layers and accessories to compensate for the chilly conditions. In warm weather the only decision one usually needs to make is: “shoes or sandals?”  Otherwise the jeans/shorts and t-shirt combo is usually ubiquitous year-round. Since moving back to the cold I’ve actually been checking weather reports. In LA I was fairly certain everyday would be 75 and sunny. Living in a diverse climate changes your mindset. You don’t take your nice or warm days for granted. You learn to appreciate pleasant days and to tough it out through the ugly ones. After all life isn’t a string of sunny days- it’s an unpredictable weather pattern filled with cold and blustery days alike. I think those living in the cold are better prepared mentally for this truism. 

Toughness and adaptability aside I think the cold also creates a passion and community that you don’t always find in warmer regions. In a simple example: I’d rather snuggle with a lover for warmth than sleep on opposite sides of the bed in worrying about waking up in a pool of sweat. When I think of the cold I think of people coming together and sharing the warmth of a building, fireplace, or a home. This is not to say the same community does not exist in warm regions. My point is that the cold forces us to come together, to depend on each-other for support, and help one-another in a rougher climate. It’s Mother Nature forcing her kids to get along, for the setting of a time-out is too cold and almost unbearable. 

But this is not to say that I don’t like warm weather, or that I think it is without its inherit gifts to life. I’ve always been fascinated how the most of the industrial cultures come from colder climates (Russia, UK, New England, Germany), while more artistic cultures come from warmer areas (Brazil, Vietnam, Thailand, most African Nations). The climate one lives in strongly affects their day-to-day life. It can affect whether you stay inside all day and study or go outside and play. Whether you’re cooking for warmth and calories or flavor and experimentation. It will either make your grit your teeth or sit back and relax. We’re all creations of our surroundings, and I think the weather has one of the strongest effects on a person: for good or bad. 

I love the warm weather as much as the next person. You may never see me sunbathing my pale skin on the beach, but I can’t deny there is something relaxing and wonderful about a warm breeze dancing across your body as you’re swinging back-and-forth slowly in a hammock. But personally nothing makes me happier than having the cold air ruddy my cheeks and trudging through knee high powder in snow-shoes towards my house getting ready to imbibe some hot chocolate in front of a fire.

One Comment leave one →
  1. yoghurtlady permalink
    November 20, 2009 12:43 pm

    I like freezing cold !! I’m from Russia and I really miss the snow now because I’m living in a hot wether country, and every time I see snow I feel so nostalgic. I like my cheeks freezed!!

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