To a summer person, winter is perhaps the bleakest season of all, the season when Mother Earth gives up her vibrant shades to give way to copious amounts of white and grey. But if you live in a place where winter lasts four or more months, falling in love with winter is critical to your survival -- you teach yourself to love the wintertime. It could be challenging, though.
Snowfall is a spectacular natural event -- absolutely one of a kind. I stood frozen with my mouth agape when I first witnessed a snowfall eight years ago; fresh snow resembling shreds of white cotton candy descended from the heavens above and turned a small city into a winter wonderland. The beauty around it was too much for me to grasp.
I had seen snow before, but never in real life. I had seen snow in Hollywood movies, story book illustrations, photos, and greeting cards sent by extended family from faraway lands. As a child, I dreamed of scooping snow from the ground and hold it against my cheek. I had had dreams to walk on silver snow, watch snowflakes sticking to windowpane and if possible, even build a plump and happy snowman by myself.
Although the first snowfall of my life left me awestruck by its divine beauty, the more I saw snow, the more I understood that I could not possibly make myself fall in love with it, no matter how fresh or fluffy it was.
It was perhaps the fourth snowfall of that season which nearly sent me into a melancholic state of mind. I grew weary of the subzero weather conditions and the whiteness around me. I longed for warm days when street sides and pavements would be clear of mounds of old, dirty snow. I even prayed for spring to arrive early, so it could lift the white blanket and unveil the luscious green landscape that was pitilessly concealed under it.
I began to dread snow even more when one morning on my way to work, I lost my footing and fell on the ice. I spent the following five days and nights lying straight in my bed; the backache was agonizing.
However, one good outcome of living through icy days of America’s long and harsh midwestern winter was, it helped me better understand myself. I realised that I was a summer person in every respect: I relish smoothies more than lattes and I enjoy a loud thunderstorm more than an arctic blizzard. I like to be outdoors; I like to take a stroll along a river, rest on a park bench, and read paperbacks on the patio. If someone asks me to choose between knitting and gardening, I would most definitely go for the latter. I love colourful summer blooms and green foliage more than icicles and snow-clad branches of bare pines, oaks and maples.
America’s East Coast has long winters, too, but they are in no way as frigid as its Midwest. Here, it is more rainy than it is snowy, which means that the earth is almost never hidden under a white quilt of snow. Although I will always be a summer person now matter what, but little by little, I am beginning to love the season that I have dreaded since moving abroad.
Now every time I spot an orange-breasted cardinal, a black-capped chickadee, a springy blue jay or even a black-and-white downy woodpecker perched on a barren branch of a tree outside, I tell myself that winter is not very dismal after all.