Some people I know, think the best part of the year is the time when the sun stays with us well into the evening and lulls us into a feeling of lethargy. I am only one of few who loves "the night life, but not to boogie, or the disco life..." Oh no....For me, it's the stark reality of the cold, the sharp whips of wind across my face that make reality so much more vivid. I feel winter every bit as much as I see it. Sometimes, it's just good enough to sense the ice beneath my feet that the could seep through my Ugg boots and possibly cause me to fall. It doesn't often make me cold; it just makes me more aware.
Then, there's the knowing that much more must be done during the daytime, in the cold season, before dark, that heightens my desire to do what I need to do, enjoy what I can, and to feel the satisfaction of moving faster than at any other time of the year.
I've lived in the Northeast all my life, and trips to tropical areas always remind me that I hate the heat, humidity and only go south to visit loved ones who live there. At home in the winter, I can shovel snow, sled down the slopes, make the comfort food of soups and stews and know for certain, why I have stayed here so long.
I live in a particularly beautiful part of the country called the Hudson River Valley, where every season gets to show off it's beauty. But I have seen the Hudson River, shoaled up against the Palisades when it is partially frozen on both sides, with a narrow slip of moving water, that permits the trawlers and tugboats to pace their way up and done, every day of the cold season. I've seen my golden retrievers make snow angels in the snow. I've watched my children grow from happy cherubs with cherry cheeks, to grown women who still love to go sledding and always want to make snow angels of their own.
This has been our home for 35 years. I loved it from the very first time I saw it, in February during the early seventies, and we bought our home on the very first day we went looking. Everything around us was esconsed in ice; the hill that led to my house was steep and the land on the sides and behind our house was complete with tall, healthy oaks and maples and huge rocks that made it all the more haunting and poetic. My tall house sits like a beacon on a high hill, looking down on my river in the present day, every bit as much as any masterpiece of painting seen in museums that feature the exquisite art of the Hudson River Painters.
And my greatest joy, while living here all this time, loving my husband, raising our children, going through hardship, dealing with illness and hoping for change has always been made better whenever I think of the cold days of winter, the snow on top of our hill, the partially frozen waterway and my love for this land and it's historically filled place in time.
Lots of people come to vacation here during the fall leaf changing season, and walk in the Pocantico Hills, which is a routine for me all year long. Isn't is strange that it still calls to me, in the same way it did 35 years ago, during a long winter in the Hudson Valley?
The comfort of winter in our home in this Valley, is that no matter what else happens, in whatever time I have left, I will never leave.