The first real snowstorm has hit Boston, my home (a couple hometowns ago) for 17 years. As a northern transplant to the south, I have to say I’m happy I’m missing it. With the Christmas holiday nearing closer people all over are decorating their Christmas trees, hanging wreaths and tuning in to festive tunes on their car radios. This festive season (in my northern years) also meant heavier clothes, boots, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, 4-wheel drive, shoveling, plowing, de-icer and snow tires. When this reality is ingrained in your psyche for such a long time it’s hard to get it all out of your system. It’s hard, but, for me, enjoyable.
I used to get excited when a storm threatened to close schools and keep my kids home to enjoy hot cocoa and play in the snow. The build up of a storm consumes the weather reports (which happen every 10-15 minutes or so) and every mom loads up and hoards milk, bread and wine in their households. We bring in the firewood in case of power loss and text our friends to get the latest “When is school reopening?! reports.” My excitement, I realize now, was not because I loved snow or storms or the adrenaline rush of preparing. It was because there was no other alternative. This was all I knew.
I woke up this morning to 39 degrees. That’s freezing here in Charleston. I turned on the gas fireplace with a quick flick and wrapped a cozy sweater around me as I waited for my Nespresso to brew. I turned on the local news channel and the weatherman informed me it would get up to the 60s today with full sun. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. It’s the best of both worlds here in the winter (and it’s not officially winter yet). You have your cozy sweaters and flowing fires in the mornings and warm and bright sunny afternoons. Did I mention full sun?
In the south, the ability to go outside for anything, even in winter for a simple walk, run (not that I’m a runner), swing on your porch, to wander the shopping streets, with green grass and flowers in bloom, is not impeded by ice, mounds of snow piles, slush or crater-sized puddles. No, I won’t be able to go skating on the frozen pond, watch the snow gently falling, hear the sound of my son’s hockey stick hitting pucks over and over again in our backyard rink or cross-country ski in the local woods. These are the only things I miss. And when I say miss, I mean these were the only things I enjoyed about living with snow and frigid cold. And truthfully, I don’t miss these things that much. I much prefer being outside without worrying I’ll fall and break my hip slipping on black ice.
For the next six months or so I’ll revel in the weather of my new hometown, because…it is awesome. When summer hits, though, I’ll plan trips back north to escape what summer in the south means – heat and humidity, really frizzy hair, living with the constant flow of air conditioning, dangerous wildlife invading my neighborhood and the threat of hurricanes.
I guess it’s true that when you trade in one thing, whether good or bad, you get another to replace it. There’s also another saying that’s actually come to mean something more literal in my new reality. The grass really is greener on the other side.