While I lived in southern California I talked about winter like it was a battle wound I had picked up. I told coworkers about power outages, about shoveling cars from snowdrifts before work and school, and about it being so cold your nostril hairs froze, and they couldn't even believe it. They saw snowstorms on TV but couldn't fathom the way the wind went whipping by those poor people stuck on the highway somewhere in the northeast because when they looked outside the sun was always shining brightly on the palm trees.
And after one- two- three snow-less winters, I too began to forget what it was like. I was at the pool while my friends in Boston were scraping ice off their windshields. I felt like a cheater. I felt like a wonderful, warm little cheater. Winter became this silly, far-off memory. "Oh yeah, I lived in winter once...it was crazy—" as if it were some wild and crazy concert I attended.
Even as I planned my move back to New England I knew that winter would come but I brushed off the idea of it. We were moving back in May...that annoying winter season was a whole world away.
Then September came.
Being back in the land of four seasons, my body has picked up on the subtle shift from summer to fall, then it will be from fall to...(and I swear the little hairs on the back of my neck rose up when I thought about it) WINTER. It suddenly hit me; it's actually going to happen. The sun in San Diego must have burned straight through to my brain cells because I really think I thought that maybe winter had stopped happening all together in 2006...when it stopped for me.
Like a repressed memory, thoughts of winter are creeping back to me and I'm going into disaster planning mode. I had to get Maya a winter coat; I'm restocking my candle supply; I have to dig out my old gloves and go buy boots. There is so much to do before the deep freeze sets in. I feel like calling out a warning, Paul Revere-style, through the streets: "Winter is coming! Winter is coming!" But people here would just look at me and say, "Yeah, idiot, we know." I suppose it's a little early to start worry about it all, but coming back into winter suddenly seems a lot more difficult now that I've accepted the fact it's actually going to happen.