Spreading a little springtime color.
All Pictures Copyright © Jacqueline E. Smith 2015
Christmas is in six days. My general rule of thumb is that I like the cold and the gray and the winter weather (or at least pretend to) until Midnight on December 26. Once Christmas is over, I can go back to openly hating the winter chill as much as I darn well please.
Okay, so there are a few things I like about winter. I like hot chocolate. I like snuggling with blankets. I love Christmas. And I actually do like snow as long as I don’t have to drive in it. It’s pretty.
Ice can even be pretty.
The only problem with pretty scenes like this is that they come with temperatures like this…
That is too cold. When it’s that cold outside, my face often looks like this…
Or more accurately, like this…
Every year I start off thinking that I really do like the cold. I was born in the dead of winter, in the middle of a snow storm. I feel like I should like I owe it to winter to try to like it. But once the initial Yay-It’s-Cold-Outside-I-Can-Wear-Boots-And-Scarves excitement wears off, winter gets really old really fast. The worst part is IT’S NOT EVEN TECHNICALLY WINTER YET AND I’M ALREADY SICK OF IT. As far as boots and scarves go, guess what?! I wear boots and scarves all year round! I’m a writer who lives in Texas! Boots are a given and scarves are kind of a thing for some of us.
I’m beginning to feel, in a weird kind of way, that by professing my “love” for winter and denying my love for all things summer, I’m in a way denying a part of myself. I’m supposed to be listening to Christmas music, but I’ve been sneaking listens to my summer iTunes playlist for the past two weeks. Even as I write this, I’m singing along to Summertime Guys from the movie Aquamarine.
But when you think about it, all of this is really to be expected. I’m from the South. Southern girls love summer. We thrive on sunlight and open-toed-shoes and the smell of coconut sunscreen. Summertime is also the time for colors and being outside and swimming and flowers. Honestly, how could it not be my favorite season?
In my mind, summer equals freedom, and as a writer, as a creative mind in general, freedom is all that I want. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. Winter is fine, but I so often feel confined and limited in the cold and the gray. And come on, shoes? Who actually likes having to wear shoes? My feet, like the rest of me, like to be free. One of my favorite memories is of my first Fourth of July working as a summer camp counselor. My co-workers and I spent the evening at our friend’s lake house and as the sun set, we ran around playing Ultimate Frisbee in our summer clothes and bare feet. It was the best Fourth ever.
Winter, I guess, reminds me too much of the real world. Summer is a fantasy. It’s a time for adventure. It reminds me of what I want out of life: mountains and oceans and gardens and hiking and swimming and running and forests and open fields of tall grass and flowers. I realize I must sound like the biggest hippie right now, but that is what my soul craves. That’s what it needs to survive. If I can’t have that during the winter months, I at least need my summer music and pictures to keep me going. Of course, I have my writing also, which definitely frees me, but I also like to experience these freedoms and moments for myself. It’s not enough to just write them. You’ve got to live them too.
So for the next six days, I will love and savor what’s left of Christmas, but in the back of my mind, I’m still anticipating the summer sun.