How I Fell in Love With Winter

It’s taken 20 years, but I’m finally smitten with winter in New York.

I’m from Southern California. My husband Hal is from Montana. We met in New York City where he literally laughed at my idea of dressing appropriately for winter. One particular February I stood on line for a movie wearing an awesome leather jacket, cute scarf, short boots and high water trousers (the socks were barely higher than the boots), with no hat, and gloves that were, well, not designed for the out-of-doors. I didn’t get that I could never be warm dressed like that. He tried not to say “I told you.” It sounds incredibly silly now, but I really didn’t get it.

Three years ago I resolved to make peace with the season. I was tired of losing a huge portion of the year because I was waiting for the bad bit to go by. Winter is long, that’s a lot of bad bit to wait through. So, even though he has teased me mercilessly, I asked Hal for help. He has expertise. I don’t.

We went about buying the right gear for me to be outside, no matter what blew in. There’s a certain amount of style to my collection of protection, but it was all chosen for coziness and mobility first. I needed to start thinking like a Montanan, Hal showed me how. For instance, the only quality that matters in a pair of boots is that they keep your feet dry and warm.

I tested the gear on long walks, goofing around on the ice of the ponds, standing down the howl of wind that blows in across the back meadow. It works and, because of it, I have had the chance to get to know winter.

A tipping point to actually falling in love was a pact I made with myself to take my phone with me on walks, to find one beautiful thing and document it. The quiet and the crunch. The freeze, thaw, freeze. The dazzle of sun on snow, and the long, hazy stretches of darkness barely conceding to light.

It’s hard to believe I’m saying it, but now I especially love that winter is a long stretch of time. I can settle into it, and get big things done. Like this year, before spring comes we’re publishing our first digital novel.

None of it could have happened, though, if I hadn’t sought out the expertise of my husband. I really didn’t want to. I mean, he has laughed at me about being a ninny in the cold for YEARS. In the moment, asking for help felt like putting myself at a disadvantage. But that’s where there’s liberation in bringing professional structures into a marriage. In our business Hal and I have learned to respect — and to take advantage of — each other’s expertise to succeed. Hal knows winter. I don’t.

My turn may someday come… Hal could decide he wants to learn to body surf.

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