I used to firmly hoist my flag inside the I-Love-Winter camp. I’m not so devoted anymore, though I have not quite left some aliegence behind: I love the chill of the air. I love the cozy, claustrophilic feeling of a world wrapped in a blanket of fresh and falling snow. I love the sound of the crunching pack underfoot and the effect of leaving a temporary footprint trail through an untouched expanse of refreshed whiteness.
But as winter turns to spring and the chance of one-last late-season snowfall diminishes with each passing day, I find that more-and-more I’ve come to embrace the summer, though in such an embrace never forgetting that there are a few splendid things left behind with the frozen landscapes of winter. These include:
As an adult it really is tough to rationalize playing video games. I come up with all sorts of excuses to get a few hours of quiet time in front of Skyrim or Minecraft or Left4Dead with the guys. It’s even tougher to justify during the summer: the garden needs weeding, the sun is still out, the days are longer, warmer, and calling out to be enjoyed. Sitting in the basement staring at a pair of screens — after sitting in an office all week staring at a pair of screens — has this sense of time wasted. On the other hand, those dark, cold winter nights, when the snow is still flying outside, it is literally life-endangering to get the car out of the garage, and one’s skin could freeze just taking the dog out for a pee — well — hiding in the basement where it’s warm and dry and the soft glow of a pair of monitors bites into the winter gloom does not seem so regretable.
The problem with modern men’s fashions is that — generally speaking — guys don’t carry handbags. Big deal, you say. What’s your problem, you ask. Get a man-purse, you suggest. I somehow manage to go from home to work each day and the average minimum I find myself wanting to carry is: my wallet, my keys, my work phone, my personal phone, a pair of headphones, a point-and-click camera, and my kindle. (Cluttered, I know, but everything has a purpose.) In the winter each of these objects — save for the kindle which I hold in my hand — has a neat and nearly invisible pocket in my winter jacket. In the summer, I generally go jacket-less which simply means that my hips look like I’m hoarding supplies for the winter — or simply risk dropping one or more expensive electronic devices. That’s worst case scenario, of course, but even just out for a shopping trip at the mall or going to the playground I’ve got my hands full. My pockets are put away for the winter, and summer becomes a few months of juggling — almost literally — my devices and essentials as I go about my business.
Exclusive Membership in the Snow Running Club
Lots of people run. All over the world, thousads — maybe millions — of people are lacing up and going out for a jog right now, dashing around their neighborhoods, through city streets, urban parks, country roads, and magestically along beaches. In Edmonton there are thousands of runners. At least… well, there are thousands of runners in the spring, summer and fall. Come winter many of those folks wimp out and go hide at the gym and play-bouncy on the treadmills. The remaining few of us run outside in the snow and cold and blowing wind. My own cutoff is generally twenty-five degrees Celcius BELOW zero, but I’ve been known to go out when it’s cooler than that. It’s great. You bundle up, exposing nothing but a tiny slit between your scarf and your hat so you can see, and there you are, out pounding the icy pavement in near solitude. Quiet and amazing, and you can brag about it later when everyone is complaining about their cold cars: “I was out for a RUN in THIS earlier.” Summer rolls around and everyone emerges from hibernation, and suddenly the streets are a little more crowded. And gone is my private running track.