It snowed on Monday. I don't know what your news feed was like, but you would think, from mine this is thoroughly unexpected and portends dire events. It's terrible, it's awful, whatever shall we do. People, people. It's the middle of November. And it's Chicago. Where's the surprise? What's the problem?
Monday afternoon, having lunch in town, I saw some kids welcoming the snow; twirling, spinning, laughing. Remember when the first snow did that to you? It was all fresh and fun. Here's how you know you've become an adult: your first thought at the first snow is all about shoveling and driving and everything but fun. Here's how you know you still have some kid in you: you smile at the first flake.
What is it about becoming an "adult" that makes us unable to enjoy the first snow, even for a moment? If there ever was an opportunity to be truly present, it's the first snow, or the first warm rain, or the first peach or the first day you buy pears because they really are in season. In fact, being present is being aware of things even being in or out of season. Today wasn't about what's to come, it's about what's here now. It means we came around to another season. It's the perfect "Shehechiyanu" moment. "Blessed are You, Source of Life, who has sustained me and kept me alive to reach this time." Literally.
Now, I'm not blind to the rigors of winter. February is the longest month in the year, no matter what the calendar says, and I'm just as tired of being cold by then as the next Chicagoan. But I'm a third generation Chicagoan, and though I've lived on both coasts, I love this town. I used to live in LA, and after four years, although it sounds clichéd, I missed the change of seasons. The east coast was better, season-wise, but it wasn't Chicago.
I love that first day when you can smell summer, even though I know it's going to get blisteringly, can't-sleep hot. Doesn't matter. That first moment when you feel summer coming up from the sidewalk…..ahhh. As for spring and fall - well, they never last long enough anyway, because they're just perfect.
I re-read this and realize I sound like a nut - but I really did love Monday. I came home from work, got my master fire-building son to make the first fire of the season in the fireplace (and yes, that was a Shehechiyanu moment), poured something warm and and took a little nap.
Bring it on, winter. And just remember, every day of winter brings us one day closer to spring. Remind me of that in February.