On Winter

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Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone North Carolina. January 2011.

Winter is coming! I can’t remember ever being excited by this season before. That was before I moved to a tropical climate that boasts 80+ fahrenheit temps roughly nine months a year. Aside from a few glorious days that resemble the in-between seasons, we really just go straight from nine months of summer to a few months of cooler weather. Thankfully, that cooler weather has finally arrived, bringing with it shorter days, a river that looks briskly temperate during morning runs, and gusty breezes that make me crave apple cider and spicy chill.

My strongest associations with winter stem from my college years in the Appalachian mountains. I remember my hair freezing on the walk to 8am classes, sledding down hills on trays “borrowed” from the Welborn cafeteria, delicately navigating the treacherous black ice that forms on those slick, narrow mountain roads.

I remember waking up to see the indoor window condensation frozen into long icicles right next to my face; weekends spent entirely in bed because it was too cold to do anything but ski and I couldn’t afford a ski pass, so the next best thing was to devour entire seasons of Boston Legal and eat kettle corn, cooked while hopping between feet in an attempt to keep warm in the mad dash between the bedroom and the kitchen.

Once we threw an ugly sweater Christmas party (classic), on the same night that one of the first early December blizzards decided to occur. Several inches of snow were dumped overnight and no one could leave. More boxed wine for all! We woke up in our ugly sweaters, threw snowballs, tried to get warm next to the wood burning stove, then gave up and went to Bojangles for breakfast.

I love bearing witness to the passing of time through nature. Brisbane can sometimes feel like an endless summer, full of tan, good-lucking people- surfers and students alike. it’s nice to feel something different for a change.

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Blowing Rock, North Carolina. 2010.

Pre-Appalachia, my childhood was punctuated with excerpts of poetry, notable not so much in their variety but the consistency and delivery. My father, a fan of Robert Frost, always has this classic to offer on dark, cold nights. Just reading it summons his rich voice and measured cadence.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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