Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Talk About the Weather

The weather has taken a serious turn from late summer into brisk fall temperatures this week and with the change has come the gripes from some camps and the exultations from others. Some people are warm weather people. Some people are cold weather people. Then some people, such as myself, are just whatever it is, deal with it people.

I saw a posting on Facebook from a Southern type who I went to high school with and she was obsessing about the change of season, not in a good way. She was lamenting the change to wearing layers. She had to take a business trip to Minneapolis and was complaining about it being in the high 40's and low 50's at night. Meanwhile an old friend from Minneapolis was raving about the beautiful weather.

The opposite side of the warm weather sorts who complain about cold weather is the people who originate in the Northern climes of the U.S. and whine whenever the temperature gets above 80. I believe the typical statement goes something like, "In the winter you can put on more layers, but in the summer you can't take more off to get cool." Well there are nature resorts, aka nudist camps, but even there when it's hot, it's hot. You sweat.

Human beings are amazing creatures. They came out of Africa many thousands of years ago and have managed to settle on every possible corner of this planet. In the heat. In the cold. In the desert. On just about every island in the several oceans, or at least those islands with fresh water. People are nothing if not adaptable. And yet they constantly whine about the weather.

I grew up in Central Arkansas where the average summer day was 92 degrees and humid. I have lived in Austin, Texas where the heat index is nudged up a notch over that. I spent two years on the island of Guam in the Western Pacific, where it is 88 degrees with 85% humidity virtually every day of the year. I know heat and I can deal with it. Not particularly fond of that 100+ kind of heat they have in the Desert Southwest, but if I had to, I could adapt to that as well.

On the other hand I have spent most of the last 30 years in a region known as the Upper Midwest. I spent the better part of 5 years in Minneapolis and I have seen snow in October and May. I have experienced temperatures of -29 degrees, not counting the wind chill. With wind chill it goes down to -50 or -60. I've trudged through snow thigh deep. I've changed tires on cars when it was -10 degrees. Given my druthers, I'd rather live someplace warmer, but I cope quite well with cold weather too. Despite my native Southernness I have learned to ski cross-country and to ice skate. Not really into snowmobiles or that warm weather twin, the jet ski.

What amazes me is that people get hooked on one or the other, warm or cold that is, and refuse to adapt or to enjoy the little pleasures that go with the other. Frankly there are good things about both, and drawbacks about both. Southerners whine about the cold. Northerners whine about the heat, and say things like, "I couldn't live down South. I really like the changing of the seasons."

I'm here to tell you that I like the changing of the seasons too. I embrace the arrival of fall and the glorious colors of the trees. The first big snowfall of the winter is a cause for celebration. The return of green in the spring is a magnificent sight. The coming of summer and temperatures warm enough to warrant shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops is a sunburned delight. Of course, I lived on a tropical island for two years and went to the beach on Thanksgiving and at New Year's. I don't think I really missed the changing of the seasons. That too was perfectly acceptable, just different, although I thought the importation of Christmas trees to a tropical island was a wee bit odd.

The point here is that people become accustomed to one thing and somehow manage to convince themselves that everything else sucks. Just embrace whatever comes people. Life is here to be enjoyed, whether it's a hot life or a cold life or a life that swings radically from one to the other. Life in Chicago can be cold at times, but I own sweaters and coats. Life on the 14th floor is 72 degrees with a stunning view year round. In summers there are boaters and swimmers and the lake is a beautiful shade of aqua. In winter the lake freezes and melts and makes the most curious maze of cracks in that ice. The wind and the snow blow and the big waves crash on the shoreline. It's all good. I find life entertaining, no matter the weather. That being said, I'm seriously considering retirement in a warm clime where it never gets cold. Want snow? I can visit that.

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