I knew it would happen before too long but I didn’t think it would happen so soon. It seems to happen earlier and earlier each year. And for me there is simply no way to mentally prepare for it. I know it’s coming and there is nothing I can do about it. When it happens it is always a profoundly depressing experience no matter how many times I go through it.
Well, it happened yesterday. We had our first snow of the season. It never accumulated on the ground but it fell from the sky for around forty-five minutes. To look out my window and see it snowing for the first time of the season was thoroughly soul-crushing. It threw me into a whirlwind of despair.
Summer ended just a week and a half ago and now yesterday winter began. Fall lasted only a little over a week. The same thing happened last year. This morning we had a killer freeze which means all the leaves will fall off the trees before they even have a chance to change color. This will make two years in a row without fall foliage. Winter arriving yesterday not only saddened me but it pissed me off!
For me it is always the most depressing day of the year. It’s the day when everything ends. Warmth turns to freezing cold. Light turns to dark. Green turns to gray. Vibrant life turns to dead stillness. Day turns to night. Joy turns to soul-sucking gloominess.
What the hell is wrong with me?
With winter officially beginning yesterday we have entered the cold, dark, gloomy, depressing half of the year. When I was a kid that didn’t bother me at all, in fact it was rather exciting. Of course I spent a good deal of my youth living in the desert where a summer high temperature of 114 degrees (Fahrenheit) was normal and common. It was always a relief to see the temps get down into the nineties with fall and eighties with winter. Winter was always fantastic even though it only lasted a month or two.
But I’m not a kid anymore no matter how hard I try. I’m an old fart who has been reshaped by many different weather patterns throughout a long life — including 18 years living high up in the mountains of Colorado where winter lasts for 10 months out of every year. My body longs for simpler, warmer and more youthful times.
Seriously, I should have known the snow was coming. My bum knee was acting up. That’s what happens when you get old. Your body tells you when the snow is coming. But I didn’t listen. I was in denial. It’s too goddamned early for winter!
But my knee was right.
One of the things that makes the first day of winter especially hard for me is that it always makes me think about my late wolf-dog-wife. In November it will be eight years since she kicked the bucket and I still think about her every day (we were married for sixteen and a half years). But on the first day of winter I think about her all day long. I can’t stop thinking about her.
For her, the first day of winter was a day of supreme excitement. Of course the dog part of her was of Arctic stock. She loved snow and she loved winter. If she looked out the window and saw it snowing she would get spastic with excitement and would start begging to go outside.
We were polar opposites. She would have been happy living at the North Pole and I shrivel with sadness the closer I get to the North Pole. We were a perfect example of how a polar opposite couple can be so happy together.
I kept thinking about her all day yesterday on the first day of winter. She would have been so happy yesterday and her happiness would have soothed my sadness.
I remember fondly how back in Colorado I would put on her harness and attach the leash to the harness then we would get on a snow-packed road and she would pull me like a sled over the snow. If I angled my feet just right I didn’t even need skis. She taught me how to have fun in the snow.
I remember making snowballs and throwing them at her. She would catch them in her mouth. When the snow was deep enough she would tunnel into it. I could see the bumps in the snow as she meandered all around until finally popping back up from beneath the snow. I remember when my daughter was on her back on the snow making snow-angels. My wolf-dog-wife got on her back next to my daughter and made snow-dog angels. They were so cute.
Can you see how the first day of winter can be rough on me?
I really wish it didn’t come so darn early. I really miss experiencing a normal autumn. This morning we have a cloudless blue sky but it looks like it’s snowing outside. But it’s not snow that is falling. It’s leaves. The trees are all dumping their leaves. At the rate they’re dumping leaves they should be bare and leaf-less within another day or two. No fall foliage again this year. Winter is here with a vengeance.
A week and a half ago I was wearing short pants and now it’s time to get out the parka. It’s so very, very sad. The only way to maintain my sanity and keep hope alive is to start looking forward to spring.
What the hell is wrong with me?
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