My friend once said, "I would hate to die in the spring."
"What? Why?" I said.
"Because it would mean I lasted through the entire winter," she replied.
My friend's grim, yet well thought out, death preference may strike a chord with other winter haters. After all, there's a reason why poets symbolically use winter to describe death--- and that reason is that winter's too cold for a poet's turtleneck sweater.
One season you're laying out poolside in your swimsuit, bicycling around town, slurping smoothies, and a couple seasons later, you're dry heaving while shoveling heavy snow from the walkways so old people won't fall, and realizing that the dry heaving may indicate that you are old people now and should probably stop and eat some fudge.
Some of the harshest winter conditions I've experienced were as a college student in Rexburg, Idaho. Winter in Rexburg feels as if Rexburg took in a foreign exchange student named The Arctic Circle. Rexburg's where Elsa purchased her latest timeshare---- where Frosty the Snowman might go to get mummified. I'm just saying, if the devil himself preferred ice to flames, he'd knit some mittens to take with him to Rexburg.
While attending college there, my cousin and I kept count of the many students we'd see slip and fall on the icy sidewalks. It may sound harsh, but when you're shuffling carefully uphill to campus with your nostrils frozen together, eyes watering in the cold and wind blowing the tears to the insides of your ears and someone unexpectedly starts flailing around on ice, chuckling coldly warms you right up.
Although, I once tripped over snow-covered rocks in Rexburg, breaking my nose on the sidewalk, so I guess Karma's a thing, too.
And now it's not just winter, but winter 2020, which is a horror only poets can describe. Hold on. Let me grab my turtleneck.
Winter 2020-- A Haiku
Who approved this mess?
Winter in 2020.
I just can't even.
Such a combination makes me shiver, though I'm not sure if it's from fear, cold, or coronavirus.
How much more can we take?
When that question overwhelms me, I like to think about how humans handle the dreary wintertime. It's cold, dark, isolating, harsh, and yet...
When the chill of winter forces us indoors, we relax inside with a blanket and a book. We shake our heads as we sweat, shoveling the walks over and over because it just keeps snowing. We shuffle along to avoid slipping and laugh at ourselves when we fall anyways. Our thighs burn as we drag sleds up snow-covered hills all for the brief thrill of speeding back down them. We build snowmen and frown when the sun peeks out to melt them. When our fishing ponds freeze, we lace up our ice skates. And when those first blades of green grass poke through the winter slush, we rejoice at their sudden reappearance, our nearly forgotten friends, and head to Walgreens for some Claritin.