All of us who live in “the north” understand that winter is something to be endured. They are rare occasions, indeed, when we have a snow day and are able to actually sled or ski or otherwise amuse ourselves with a winter sporting activitiy. Even rarer still, for some reason, are those romanticized evenings in front of a blazing fire, wearing thick wool socks, watching a romantic comedy and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows in it.
Instead, we endure hours of additional traffic to and from the office, icy pellets hitting us in the face as we slip and slide towards the bus stop, or our windshield wipers freeze, or we fall on the ice, bruising a bone. We get home only to discover a leaky window, frozen pipes or a malfunctioning heater. This year in particular, temperatures have been particularly frigid as we have labored underneath a literal swirl of frozen air known as the polar vortex. You’ve got to be kidding me.
In December, I rushed from my building, yankee swap present hoisted in front of me. I crossed the street, stepped on the sidewalk and fell squarely on my back. Never even had a chance. The ice was so thick and so everywhere that I fell again in attempting to get up. Once upright, I proceeded to skate down the sidewalk, wet, sore and, for whatever reason, laughing hysterically.
And yet. Bostonians would never willingly leave Boston, abandoning it to be cared for by a band of outsiders. No way, this is our city. Love it and hate it in equal measure depending on the tilt of the Earth’s axis. It’s like when you are talking about a family member. You are allowed to drone on and on about your relative’s myriad faults, but the moment a non-relative breathes a whisper of negativity about that same relative, watch out. So, too, with Boston. Everyone who lives here complains for 6 months of the year. But when it is suggested that another locale is superior, we become incredulous and defensive. Impossible!
Boston. New England. The entire northeast. We’re in an unhealthy relationship, certainly, but one that will endure. The thought of walking out into the frozen, wet, icy, mess that our most recent weather system cooked up makes me cringe in horrified anticipation. Even the storms, though, are sometimes unspeakably beautiful in their swirling power. But what Boston makes you pay for in the winter, it rewards you with in the spring. Nothing rivals Boston in the spring. The marathon, the public gardens, the parks, the dogs. Winter is an investment in our springtime future. Each time I fall on the ice, or my toes go numb in the cold, I’m making a deposit in my weather bank; I keep my head down and trudge on, waiting for April.