This January, the temperatures here in Northern Illinois have been registering in the teens and single digits. The other morning, for example, the “travel to school temp” hovered around the 5 degree mark. To me, having lived here all my life, 5 degrees isn’t all that cold.
When my children were in second and fourth grade, for instance, the temperature hovered around -25 below with a chill temp around -50 below. Cold enough that being exposed to the elements for five minutes could result in frost bite. Cold enough for school districts to cancel school so the students who rode the bus wouldn’t be exposed to the dangers of cold. Cold enough that, on days when school wasn’t cancelled, I would trudge out on my lunch hour to start the cars.
Those frigid winter found the number of flu cases in the area to be minimal, and the springs and summers that followed those frigid winters found fewer pesky insects.
This season, up until the past two weeks, I have listened to the weather reporters praise the mild winter temperatures; they were happy the days in December and early January when the high for the day was almost record breaking.
Me? I hate the cold. I hate being cold. But without the cold, I can’t begin to enjoy the pleasure of that early spring breeze that brings the hint of warmer weather. The feeling that soon I can put the gloves, hats, and jackets back into the depths of the closet for summer hibernation. I relish the fact that the pesky insect population will not have doubled in size, and that maybe I can enjoy a few summer nights sitting in a lounge chair on my drive and watching the stars twinkle after the sun has set.
Besides, without cold winter nights, the warm bowl of chili just doesn’t taste the same; the cup of hot chocolate doesn’t warm my inner soul the same; the dance of the fire in the fireplace doesn’t soothe my stress the same; and the dash from the hot tub through the chilly, down-right cold air to the warmth of the house doesn’t … well, it just doesn’t.