In Defense of Winter

Almost everyone says that winter is their least favorite season. They don’t like the cold, the slushy snow, and the short, sun-starved days. I think differently: winter is actually my favorite season. Winter brings a sense of wonder, of transformation, and of joy. All it takes is looking a little deeper at the moments that make these cold months so special.

I grew up in California, just north of San Francisco, and I did not experience a lot of differentiation between seasons. The redwood groves didn’t change into those vibrant fall colors, and “winter” just felt a little foggier than normal. I knew what snow was, from visits to family in colder climates, and trips up to the mountains, but I never got to experience that moment when you feel the seasons changing. When I first moved to the East Coast, as a Junior, I thought that the changing fall colors were so exciting. Seeing everything around me in a constant state of metamorphosis was entrancing. I couldn’t wait for winter.

I don’t enjoy that feeling when your fingers go numb, or your nose is so red that it hurts to touch, but I love the winter. There’s a sense of camaraderie, and coziness, and the holidays that are sprinkled through the winter help enhance that positive connotation. I get to spend time with my family, and I get to experience the excitement of checking the weather forecast to see if it’s going to be a white Christmas. I eagerly wait for the first snowfall, which means that we can bundle up and go sledding, or make a snowman… My happiest childhood memories are from big family holiday celebrations and making cookies, all during the winter. A sense of nostalgia is imbued into winter, and I have an excuse to act like I’m eight years old again. It feels again like my entire happiness depends on the amount of snowfall.

Earlier this week, I said to someone, “I feel like this weekend will be unexpectedly fun.” I didn’t mean I wasn’t driving myself crazy in my dorm room, I simply meant that I had this feeling that one day this week I would have fun, a child-like kind of fun. And I did. I went and made snow angels with friends on the Great Lawn, and built a snowman that eventually was destroyed. I want to wake up every morning when it snows, and be that excited. I want to be in awe of the untouched fields of powder around campus, and even admire, with a little disgust, the big piles of slush and grey snow on the roads.

People always say to me, “Just wait, you’ll get tired of the snow.” And maybe I will, or maybe I won’t. But growing up in a place where snow days didn’t exist, I think I will always enjoy the snow. I think I will enjoy it when I bundle up with a hat, scarf, hoodie, mittens, big puffy jacket, snow boots, the whole lot, and feel warm, even when the air is freezing. To step out from the cold, into a warm building, and peel off layer after layer, until I remain, my nose red, and my eyes bright, because I got to walk through snow, to class.

There is a unique sense of camaraderie during winter at Andover. When we are all on campus, we all go through it together. The snow affects all of us; the cold is something we all complain about. The collective experience unites us around the freezing temperatures. We spend more time inside, together, and we find joy in simpler things. It is a time for group movies, and hot chocolate, and sweatpants, and warm, fuzzy memories.

I don’t mean to preach about the beauty of winter, but one of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more positive, and I am trying, really trying. So, even though it is not the most pleasant when you take off your boots, and dump snow on the floor of your dorm room, or your fingers are so cold you feel like they could snap off, I still enjoy those experiences, and treasure them. And I am going to work hard to keep that feeling of wonder when I see snow. I am going to try to wish that winter wasn’t over when spring arrives. I am going to enjoy the cold, and mourn for wintery days when warmer weather arrives.