Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cold Comforts

Maybe it was my time growing up in Massachusetts winters, or maybe it's the fear that the climate is changing from what I had known as a boy to something warmer, but I relish every chilly day that the fall serves up. The clear blue sky and the yellow sun and a crisp cold makes me want to put on my favorite fall jacket and hat and go for a walk. I don't even mind if it's wet out; to me that makes it just more appealing. I'm just silly with loving these cool days. 

And yet I really never liked the cold much as a kid; I liked it even less as a young man working outside. 

"Someday," I used to promise myself, "I won't care what kind of weather I get. I'll work indoors."

I used to say this with a steel rake in one hand and a sopping wet hooded sweatshirt dangling loosely over my canvas pants. I'd look up at the gray sky or look down at my raw red hands and wish for a hot fire and a cup of tea. I'd long for the hot jets of air from the truck's heater at the end of a day of cold work. That and a shower and clean cloths. 

"Please make it stop raining," I can remember saying to the sky when I'd been really uncomfortable or tired, "Please. Please. Please." 

But now I dream about those days spent out in the weather. I walk out of my office at work and over to the window and look out at the fine rain on the trees that border our building and the men cleaning and landscaping and wish it was me again. I'm like the retired shoemaker, or carpenter, who volunteers to do the tasks that he once did for a living for free - just for the fun of it. 

I know I'm deceiving myself though; when the days get short or when I'm stuck indoors or when I have to park the car between piles of snow, I'll remember why the cold is no fun. I'll remember why people move to warmer climates; why retired New Englanders with the option become snow birds and head south for the coldest days of the year. Those days aren't far off. 

Soon enough, I'll be cursing the ten minutes it takes to bundle the kids (and me) up to take a walk to the corner. I'll watch helplessly while the piles of laundry triple. I'll look hopelessly for the hat and scarf my daughter has wrapped around her stuffed bear. I'll want summer back. 

But for now, I'll take the pleasure of the change and walk beneath the trees while the leaves are still full of the color of wine and of gold. I'll be deceived and reside in bliss. 

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