I grew up in cold climates. I was born in a burb outside of Chicago, and when quite young still, moved to Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, after a brief few months on a farm, we lived in a small county seat town. It was a great vacation place, with wonderful fishing and water sports and a small town feel.
It was a great place to grow up. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good. The school was a K-12 school. There were about 25 students in my grade. There weren’t a lot of farm kids and I’m amazed now to think of the kids that I thought were from ‘well-off’ families. Perspective is an amazing thing.
In the summer there was a lot of swimming, boating and for some family members, horses. It was also hot and humid. Fall was an amazing season. School started and most of us kids were in sports after school. The trees changing and the crispness of the season was something I enjoyed. I remember in girls scouts visiting a local maple syrup maker and tapping trees and boiling down the collected sap.
Then winter came. It always came with a vengeance. Snow, cold and short days. School and basketball were all that got me through. Winter was cold and awful, but shoveling sidewalks did help put a little coin in my pockets and the snow blanketed things beautifully.
Spring was the season of fierce weather and of sloppy slush and ultimately the return of all things green. We knew when the robins came that spring had officially arrived and the countdown to summer vacation commenced.
In the middle of high school, after the death of my father, my mother and I moved to Minnesota. Minnesota brought a huge school (graduating class of more than 700) and even more extreme weather. The town we lived in was once again a resort town, which has since become a suburb to the urban sprawl of the Twin Cities. Volleyball, basketball and track helped me to assimilate into the humongous ocean I found myself dropped into. No longer a little fish in a little school, I was a guppy in the Great Lakes.
For college I went back to Wisconsin for a brief stint. I remember sliding down ‘the hill’ in Eau Claire to get to classes from our dorm rooms in the winter. Ultimately, I found myself unable to return to the university because of the huge student loans I was already amassing and driven by teenage insanity to do something drastic with my life, so I set out for Southern California. California was the Promised Land, with almost free college educations (not anymore, don’t get your hopes up), and NO SNOW.
I remember my first New Year’s Day in California. Somewhere there may still be pictures of me on a beach in a swimsuit… in spite of it really only being in the 50’s that day.
More than 20 years of a great life in California, my husband and I decided we needed a satisfying life too. We couldn’t afford to pursue our dream in southern CA, and Tom brought up the idea of Whidbey Island… I thought I would need to move further south, and was considering a brush up on those high school Spanish skills.
After the first 18 years in snow-shoveling, frost-biting cold my one absolute in the decision of where we were going was that I would never need to shovel snow again.
Family, friends and research determined that Whidbey was a moderate climate, in the banana belt or blue hole, or whatever cutesy name they have for it now. Basically, enjoying the rain shadow effect of the Olympic mountains, Whidbey is to be a moderate area. Not nearly as wet as Seattle (or New York for that matter), and not nearly as snowy or cold as areas this far north not protected by the almighty Olympics.
Unfortunately, they are all liars, everyone who sold me on the ‘blue hole’. They are all pants-on-fire liars.
Here is a picture of our “moderate” climate. I have visual proof they are liars (day 2 of our current 4 day run of snow).
And my thoughts of spring, robbed from me… a photo taken merely a 4 days prior.
Well, I guess there is nothing I can do about it, so I’ll go shovel the steps to reduce my chance of falling and wait for the snow to melt away. Come on SPRING!