Fate has divided my life, apparently, into a cold period and a hot period.
So, December in South America meant either sweltering heat and dripping sweat on Christmas morning, or refuge in a flight to nostalgia.
Back to that earlier period when Winter began around Hallowe’en and refused to leave just because it was Easter.
My senses can hallucinate with precision, thanks to that clear recall we have of childhood scenes:
the feel of snow stinging down the insides of my boots as I climbed a drift so high that, when I stood at its top heaving clouds of steam, the telephone wires were at knee level;
the sound, as we walked to midnite Christmas service, of snow so cold it squeaked as you walked on it;
the sight, under a late night sky, of sleet frozen to crystal on every naked tree branch;
And, once warm inside,
the smell of Lionel train smoke and
the taste of ribbon candy.
Not that Winters in Paraguay and California are faulty. Just incapable of evoking the senses as powerfully as the swirling blizzards and silent frosts which once separated my parade of summers.