B.B. Boudreau

Novelist | Singer

Next Stop, Winter

Autumn (or Fall, as we always called it) is the most dichotomous season of the year. The magic slant of the sun glances through a canopy of flames clinging still to slender twigs, unwilling to surrender such short lives. Efficient factories, leaves are. They spend their entire existence – seven months at best – orienting to the sun’s rays like automated solar panels, chloroplasts chugging away, millions of little generators making food for its host, who will have to stand in the bitter cold New England winter until the benevolent winds of spring blow again.

The proverbial calm before the storm. That is what fall brings. We revel in the fall, go outside, walk around in nature; parks, beaches, trails, anything to draw in the sumptuous warmth and beauty of our earth before the world around us freezes stiff and white.

I love the fall. It is my favorite time of year. I love driving, walking, running, anything outside. The time of year to spend as much time as possible outside, because we all know what is coming. That is the catch. It is SO good and at the same time, SO bad. It is the harbinger of dark, long nights, slick sidewalks, snow blowers, boots, ice scrapers, and white-knuckle commutes. No matter who we are, to some extent, we dislike winter.

It isn’t winter, not yet. We’re still hoping, each day, that it goes as long as possible. We see snow fall on The Weather Channel in Montana and catch our breath. We know it’s coming. It’s just a matter of time.

But for the moment, the weather is As Beautiful As It Ever Gets. It’s cool and crisp in the mornings, and shirt-sleeve warm at mid-day. Warm enough, in fact to go swimming, because the water is at its warmest.

Drink in every day that is Autumn. Take a bit of time outside, even if it is only to breathe and listen to the change that is happening in nature right now. Fight the temptation to let the fear of impending winter overtake your thoughts. There will be plenty of time to prepare for indoor activities to pass the time.

I’ve got an idea. Let’s make a pledge to enjoy winter. Let’s decide to love winter. Even if you’re not a winter recreationist, stand outside for a moment every day – inhale the bracing bite of the air, the hush of frosted trees, the exotic lacy silhouette of naked branches punctuated with snow. Snow, which is really just winter rain which promises to sustain our New England life through a punishing summer of hot, relentless sun. Though peoples for centuries learned to fear and hate the winter, we have the luxury of loving winter. We’re warm and protected in our homes, our cars, our techno clothing that gets better every year. Plan lots of indoor “shoved to the side” projects ignored for months – write them down, purge your world, make yourself proud. Those who live in year-round warmth don’t know the privilege of lots of dark, indoor time to complete undone, latent projects.

Plan dinners with good friends on a regular basis to love the winter. Serve comfort foods: beef stew, chili, meat pie, chowder – anything that will allow us to love the winter and embrace our opportunity to enjoy this part of our year – the part that everyone, especially tourists – fear and avoid. Embrace this challenging time of the year with gusto. It will enlarge your world and make the winter time pass in magical sequences of scenery.

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