It’s always seemed to me that cold needs snow in it. Cold without snow is like ham without eggs, Jekyll without Hyde, clotted cream without scones — which is to say, sad and pointless.
My favorite winter activity, in fact, is building a snowman. I like this because it’s ephemeral and my art is much improved if it doesn’t last too long. Snow is a medium that does not encourage a quest for perfection. One must accept the limits of the whole snowman realism thing. And it’s childish. I like to be free and deliberately childish once in a while. Making snowmen is, I’m sure, an ancient human activity. I connect to my presocietal ancestors.
Also, you end up with a snowman which is kinda a lucky thing to have about the place.
So I asked the other Wench what was their favorite activity in the winter, assuming I’d get back responses like, “sitting in coffee shops, doing edits” or “drinking hot chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps.”
Here is what they have to say:
We're coming into spring here, but I live in a city famed — infamed? 😉 — for its changeable weather, so it's teasing us with glimpses of spring and then reverting back to cold, wet and gloomy, which is our usual winter weather. We almost never get snow and when it does hit (about once in a decade) we all get wildly excited and take photos and make miniature snowmen — miniature because there's never enough snow for anything more than about a foot high — and that's pushing it — and the snow only ever lasts a few hours. So, failing the excitement of snow, winter for me is curling up somewhere warm and cosy with a good book, preferably beside a crackling open fire.
Growing up, I loved skiing. But the icy trails of New England no longer hold quite the same appeal, and as I don’t often get out to the powdery slopes of Colorado or Utah, these days I find oth er means of locomotion when the snow falls. I’ve unbuckled my downhill boots and tend to lace up my hiking boots in winter. I love walking down by the harbor near where I live and enjoying the subtle play of light on the water, both on cold, clear days and in stormy weather. There’s an austere beauty to the limited palette of winter colors and the always changing patterns of shadow and waves. I always go home to my writing desk feeling rechanged by the wonders of Nature.
Pat takes a California view:
My favorite winter activity is to run away from winter. We've spent our lives living in snow country, spent a week without electricity and running water, lived on kerosene heaters, the whole rigamarole. Now we live in Southern California and we go whale sailing, take long scenic walks on the beach, and travel. If it qualifies as an outside activity–I sit on the patio and read and write! It took a long time to shake the snow off our boots, but we're enjoying the sand!
Susan is another old winter veteran:
Spending my childhood in a small town in Upstate New York, I grew up doing plenty of winter activities – skiing at Lake Placid, sledding and ice skating in the local park (and my dad would flood the backyard, which froze into a perfect skating rink for us all winter). We built snow-people and forts and had epic neighborhood snowball fights. Truly a winter wonderland up there. Fast forward to my high school years, when we moved south to Maryland — where the opportunities for months of snowy winter fun were not so much. Scraping a few inches of dirty snow for a snowball to pelt a sister or a friend – nah. Now and then, though, the Mid-Atlantic does produce some very respectable snow. Years later, I was as eager as my kids to get my coat and boots on to help build snow-people, snow forts and go sledding down our nice steep hill, but good snow just wasn't reliable each year. Nowadays, I still very much love snow and snowstorms. But I'm more likely to be shoveling the driveway (though my husband does get the occasional surprise snowball – I'm cautious about this, as his return volleys are not near as gentle as mine!). I do love to go for a walk in the snow, especially when it's drifting peacefully and beautifully out of the sky.
Then I stomp the snow off my boots, go inside, make some hot tea and curl up with a good book!
Nicola here. My favourite outdoor winter activity is taking the dogs out for a walk in the snow on a cold, crispy day with a blue sky overhead and the wind on my face. I find it refreshing and reinvigorating and the dogs go completely mad with excitement. It’s great fun watching them! I think maybe everything smells sharper to them on a snowy day. They also love the texture of the snow, jumping in it and running through it. Ethel saw snow at the beginning of this year as a tiny puppy but if we get any this winter she will be able to go out and play in it. Angus loves it almost as much as going to the seaside! The picture is of Monty, our old Labrador, helpfully fetching my hat from out of a snowdrift.
Of course being so weather-dependent, this isn’t an outdoor activity you can guarantee and there have been plenty of years when all we have had is grey rain and dull skies. It’s difficult to whip up the same enthusiasm for a dog walk under those circumstances! The forecast this year is for a hard winter so we will wrap up warm and get out there.
Mary Jo here. I can't honestly think of any outdoor winter activity that matches up to curling up inside with a good book and a cat on the lap! But I admit that after a fresh snow, I enjoy a gentle stroll to appreciate the beauty of pristine winter.
But I have much more enthusiasm for that winter activity known as a visit to the Caribbean! Appreciated all the more because of what we've left behind. <G>
What about you?
As November swings past Thanksgiving and into December, what do you look forward to doing outside? What did you used to do that stays with you still in memory.
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