Ahhhh, the first snowflake has fallen, not to mention the temperatures. And with this lovely transition (I mean that), here comes the onslaught of Winter Whiners.
Every looming winter season, I have to defend my love of winter – the surprise and beauty in the first flake, the blessed relief when the temp drops, if only a little, and yes, when the days get shorter. And every year it’s the same exhausting effort:
“It’s so pretty!” I try to sell to my bitter-on-winter listeners.
“You can stop wasting all your money on watering your lawn!” I offer.
And my personal favorite:
“No more bees!” I mean really, who can sneer at that one? But by then, my winter whimperers have already mentally slapped my face.
We probably all have a degree of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, but I have the reverse of what most people claim to have, and on a grand scale – I crave winter and dark and dreary days – the more moisture the better, the cooler temps the better, the snowier the skies, the better, where 99.99% of “normal” people are the opposite – they look forward to summer and above-90-degree days and endless hours of daylight and become SAD, if you will, when the gloom and doom of the winter season descends.
Since there’s no real way around winter in Montana, and because I’m kind of fed up with people who live here and complain about winter (seriously?), I have come up with some ways and reasons for the haters to try to warm up to the idea of wintertime in Montana:
- Modern winters are not half as bad as the winters of yore, or even the ones we grew up in, even 20 years ago, much less 40. Back then, it snowed in September and didn’t melt until May. Nowadays, we’re lucky to have one quick skiff in October, and nothing much more until late December. We’re able to dig and plant now in March. Not wise to do that, no, because we still have frost, but the ground is often clear enough by March to at least start dreaming of the garden-to-be.
- This is Montana. It gets cold here, and it snows here. We’re known for our mountains (isn’t Montana Spanish for mountainous?) Why live here if you hate the winter? It amazes me when I hear a DJ on the radio complain endlessly about the snow and cold, beyond that of merely cautioning listeners about road conditions. First of all, no one wants to hear you complain, and second of all, this is Montana – it gets cold here and it snows here.
- It’s so pretty! Truly, there is not much ugly about winter unless the city doesn’t plow your street.
- It’s boot weather! Let’s face it – boots are always in. Nobody ever looks bad in boots. Period. Can we say that about flip flops? Um, no. Enough said.
- Carbs are cool again. Whether it’s psychological or just – say – Seasonal Affective Denial (yes, I just coined that diagnosis, you’re welcome) if you’d prefer, mashed potatoes and gravy and buttered bread rolls can become a nightly staple again, without too much guilt.
- You don’t have to do much of anything in the winter. No yard work, beyond that of shoveling your sidewalk a couple of times a week at the most. And nine days out of ten, if you just leave it because it’ll melt tomorrow anyway when it gets up to 80. You don’t have to be out there dragging hoses around to thirsty plants, pruning overgrown shrubs, pulling weeds, painting the house, etc. Winter is a great time to not have to do the relentless maintenance that spring and summer require. And did I mention – no bees!
- You save money. It’s okay to stay home more, in fact you’re safer if you do, by staying off the icy roads. You’re not plunking down ridiculous amounts of money at the Fair or Farmer’s Market. Granted, you have Christmas costs to contend with, but hopefully you’ve drained your bank accounts in the spirit of Christmas long before December anyway.
- There are far worse things than winter. In a word: wind. There is nothing worse than wind. Or hail. Yes, hail is as bad as wind. Neither of which you are likely to see from December through March.
- When all else fails, sip your sorrows away. Fireball Whisky is amazing, and tastes nothing like whiskey but that of a warm cinnamon Jolly Rancher you don’t have to rot your teeth on.
- We need the moisture. (Okay, I’m as sick of that one as you are.)
But the more obvious reason is: We live in Montana, for crying out loud! If you don’t like winter, then move! Oh, okay, fine, easier said than done. You’re stuck here to raise kids or you’re too comfortable in your dead-end job or can’t or just don’t want to move. Fine. Then keep your winter whining to yourself. Hmmph.