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Surprise: I miss winter

By Shelah Miner

IMG_1006Usually, by the time March rolls around, I am ready to shed my skin. After months of running in subzero temps, my hide is literally chapped.

Usually, but the time March rolls around, I’m eager to welcome daylight savings time, because it means that the snow might finally melt.

Usually, by the time March rolls around, I’m hoping that the grass might make an appearance before school gets out, that I might be able to cross the back yard on the way to the chicken coop without slipping and sliding, that I might not have to buy another case of handwarmers from Costco.

I know that those of you in the East and South have been dumped on this winter. I’ve watched the news and seen all of your photos on Instagram. I know most of you are still shivering in your Uggs. But here in the west, the daffodils are in bloom, my skin is nice and soft, and my three-year-old begged to turn on the sprinkler this afternoon.

I hate it. Hate, hate, hate it.

I didn’t cross the plains pulling a handcart. I had a nice, middle-class childhood with loving parents. As an adult, my life is similarly easy. So winter is all I have to make me tough. Without winter, without the cracked heels and falling down the icy stairs on my way to get a Diet Coke from the garage fridge, without spending half an hour to get my van up the hill to my house, without hats and mittens and puffy down coats, I feel like I’ve lost my bragging rights.

I miss bragging rights.

Ten years ago, we lived in Minnesota. My husband would often come home from working a 36-hour shift, and spend the next two or three hours shoveling the driveway since we couldn’t afford a snowblower and I didn’t want to take three babies outside to do it myself. The piles of snow got higher than my kids’ heads, then higher than the mailboxes, then halfway up the windows. Our town’s playgrounds were built indoors. Once I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Thirty below keeps the riff raff out.” Sometimes the sun would make an appearance, but invariably that only happened when the temperature dipped below zero.

Now those were bragging rights.

When my husband got a job in Texas, he was delighted. The kids were delighted. Our visiting family was delighted. Me? Not so much. If you say, “It’s so hot and sticky here that my underwear hasn’t been dry for weeks,” you sound like a complainer who might be suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition. If you say, “I just went for a run and it was so cold my water froze” then you sound kind of badass. (I tried to find a more PG synonym for “badass” but it was really the only word that would fit– sorry!)

We’ve had a beautiful, warm, sunny winter. In January, we took a weekend getaway to San Diego, and it was actually warmer in Salt Lake than it was in Southern California. The kids have biked to school all winter. But it’s been a paradise tinged with doom. I now understand why all of the westerners in the Connecticut ward where I grew up would pray for “moisture” even when it rained every other day there. The billboards on the snowboarding shop in my neighborhood has changed from the hopeful “pray for snow” to the more realistic “shredding slush.” It’s going to be a hot, dry summer around these parts.

I just found my new bragging rights.


About Shelah Miner

(Co-Editor-in-Chief) teaches English at BYU and French at a Salt Lake City middle school. She has an addiction to her Audible account, hates making dinner, and embraces the chaos of life with a husband, six kids, a dog, a lizard and four rabbits.

6 thoughts on “Surprise: I miss winter”

  1. This brought chuckles and brightened my morning. Last summer we moved from Utah to the Northeast. The one consolation I've had as I've listened to my family members bask in what a lovely, warm winter they've been enjoying (as our family has been adjusting to our first eastern winter) is fact that they'll be rationing water this summer while I won't even have to water my garden. And the bragging rights? Yes! One car totaled already this winter, three times being stuck in the snow while driving (which happened maybe 2-3 times total in our many years living in the west), one precarious drive down a 12% grade mountain during freezing rain, three times having church cancelled… and that's only beginning of our winter woes.

  2. I live in Utah too and I think this I has been the best winter ever! I don't need bragging rights. Not having to slog through the slushy mess or shovel my driveway at 6:00 a.m. so I can get to work has been wonderful. I didn't grow up here and I don't share native Utahns love of snow. (I know I'm in the minority!)

  3. I live in New York. My yard has been covered with 2 + feet of snow for weeks and weeks. My kids had so many snow days they lost most of their spring break. Church was delayed/cancelled/shortened at least three times due to ice/snow/no heat. . .

    This week we have had temps above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It feels like summer. I can only hope we don't have flooding when all the snow melts.

    I have absolutely no idea what the summer is going to bring for weather.

  4. I was surprised how much less winter we have in California compared to what I had in north Texas. And I kind of miss it. Spring showing up in what I thought was winter weirded me out and made me feel like the end is coming near, even though I really enjoyed being outside in the warmer weather. And yes. I always felt badass when I ran with the temperature below freezing. That doesn't happen so much here.

  5. I grew up in California, but have lived in Utah (more or less) for about 18 years now since moving here for college. I hated winter for my first few years of living here, but the last few mild winters have left me feeling cheated. Part of my problem is that I have a natural sense of order and don't like the fact that we haven't really had winter. Spring is a lot less enjoyable without the contrast with winter–and snow is pretty. More than anything, I worry about the precedent for the future, because this kind of mild weather is really alarming as a long-term trend.

  6. I agree Jessie. Spring just isn't spring unless you've suffered through the winter for it. When I see the forsythia in bloom now, it just makes me nervous.


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