Love it or Hate it: Winter

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

Love itEvery year around September, like clockwork, I think smugly: “Autumn is my favorite time of year. This is incredible.” But then November rolls around, and every single year, I suddenly remember: “Autumn isn’t my favorite time of year. It’s winter.”

I love the holidays, even though I’m not religious in the slightest. I love the commercials they play on TV at Christmastime; the Gap and Old Navy have all their models decked out in ugly striped scarves, rolling around in fake snow and it’s great. There are sparkly strings of lights on houses, and the stores are selling tinsel, pine trees and chocolate shaped like reindeer. I love all the Christmas tunes, mostly the really sad songs like “I’ll be Home for Christmas” or Joni Mitchell’s “River.” There’s something melancholy about the winter, maybe because the entire holiday season is so full of hope and also full of despair at the same time. There’s this tremendous build-up and excitement, and then it happens and it’s over and it’s often not as good you thought it would be, and there’s nothing left to look forward to for months except slush and gray days.

My favorite thing about winter, though, is snow. For the last three months of the season, snow is dirty and inconvenient and depressing. But for the first two months, it’s supremely magical. There’s nothing like seeing flakes swirling outside through the window when you’re warm and dry inside. Or that muffled noise snow makes when it falls in the woods and all the trees are frosted over and asleep.

— Anya Jaremko-GreenwoldHate itSummer is all about opportunity and freedom, soaking in the sun, relaxation, music, friends and lawn games. Spring and fall are about hope and change, new beginnings and reflection, a delightful mix of warm and cool. Winter is nothing but sleep and dormancy. The smartest of the animals say, “Forget this, I’m finding me a warm cave. Let me know when it’s March.”

Winter is about scraping ice off windshields, and I am now a lifetime 0 for 26 with ice scrapers, no matter how much I spend. Winter is about the skies getting dark at 5 p.m. – the sun even says “No, thanks” – and longing for those long summer nights of golden skies at 8:45 p.m. It’s about not getting to commute on my bike, as the bike lanes are often covered with snow, ice or sand and salt. It’s about having to lug around coats, wrapping one’s self mummy-like in scarves and long johns. It’s about flat and mussed hair because of the hat necessities. In winter, going outside becomes a thing, one more hassle we have to deal with.

Winter is like doing time, the stale air teeming with flu and bitterness from being shut in with loved ones and viruses. I think we should take a vote to decide that this despicable season should take up maybe a month out of the year. Long enough for us to be cold and miserable, enough for us to say, “OK, Winter, enough. I get it, you bastard.”

— David Holub

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