I see Facebook postings by friends in Colorado and Washington State showing luscious white snow against barren dark trees. I do not miss it. Not at all.
Oh, I remember the squeak of snow underfoot when the temperatures dropped below Zero degrees F. I remember the stomping of my boots as I’d enter the door. The feel of my ungloved hands held up to the fire. I remember watching the snow flying up and out sideways from the snowblower John was pushing down our walkway.
I remember it fondly from the 25 years we lived in the white stuff but I do not miss it.
No. Instead of a shearling coat, I’ll stick with wearing my cotton short-sleeve tops. Instead of my snow boots I’ll stick with my flip flops or bare feet. Instead of long pants I’ll stick with wearing my shorts. All year long.
Yes, I constantly seek out the shade. Yes, I’m drenched daily in sweat and recognize all too well the feeling of a single sweat drop beading on my neck as I wake from sleep. But it’s as if my legs yearn for freedom, to be exposed. And my toes scream to be dipped in the sea. And my closet breathes more freely when it’s less than half filled with clothes.
In a land of permanent Summer, the people live outside on porches and in courtyards that serve as living rooms. Bedrooms and bathrooms are the only real rooms traditionally kept indoors. As I walk the dirt roads through our barrio (neighborhood) on my way to the beach or to town, I greet this neighbor and that sitting out on their rickety chairs, and call out to Mary and Hector making a sale in their small corner store.
The chickens scatter kicking up whiffs of dust, the dogs bark and pull on their frayed chains, the laundry hangs revealing the neighbors’ well-washed worldly possessions.
If I were up north in Winter, I’d see neighbors shoveling maybe and scraping ice from their cars’ windshields. But otherwise they’d all be indoors. Keeping warm. Keeping from freezing to death.
Here I will never freeze to death. I’ll get tan and worry about skin cancer, obsessively checking my moles.
I’ll make decisions about going for an extra hike dependent on how recently I shampooed my hair and thus how long I want to enjoy the clean sensation of a non-sweat-soaked scalp. But I won’t ever worry about skidding the car on black ice and driving off a cliff like I did once.
I won’t get stuck in a snow drift or blow my knee out skiing, or scare the shit out of myself while skiing in the trees either, come to think of it.
Oh, I’ll do plenty of other uncomfortable things I’m sure. But in Permanent Summer, at least I’ll be warm and my legs will be free.
(Photo courtesy of Tella Sametz.)