Winter — love it or hate it — no other season has had so much written about it.
“Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat.”
I don’t know who wrote that. A Web site that listed it, along with a number of other quotes about the season, attributed it to “author unknown.” But, happening across it did remind me that perhaps no other season has had so much written about it.
For example, if life is journey, notes George Herbert, “every mile is two in winter.”
OK, many of the words are more poetic. “On a lone winter evening, when the frost has wrought a silence,” wrote John Keats. I’m not sure he’s entirely accurate. Winter nights lately that I’ve been out in the office parking lot I’ve heard a lot of ice scrapers making noise on windshields and tires spinning to slide free of the portion of winter that hasn’t yet been plowed.
But, there is, I suppose a certain solitude at times in winter.
“I like those cold, gray winter days,” says Bill Watterson. “Days like these let you savor a bad mood.”
As depressing as that seems, it shows that some look forward to the isolation offered by the season.
“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you,” observed Ruth Stout. “In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in winter can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself,”
Nevertheless, such seclusion and prolonged introspection apparently can lead to some pretty dark thoughts.
“Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen,” wrote Willa Sibert Cather.
I prefer words about winter that are written in a lighter mood. Those of Will Rogers express the same acknowledgment of the harshness of winter, without a plea for pity.
“I was just thinking,” Rogers once said, “if it is really religion with these nudist colonies, they sure must turn atheists in the wintertime.”
I will admit here that many of us in the north hold that people in other parts of the country do not respect enough the severity of winter. They do not quite understand the force of nature we endure. “When you live Texas,” writes Pamela Robon, for example, “every single time it snows it is magical.”
Hey, we see the beauty of winter, too. We just know that when the magic show is over we’ll have to shovel.
Still, I think we can all agree that surviving winter is as Anne Bradstreet noted — a challenge, but a blessing.
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
So, on to the next season. When will that happen? The most recent storm has made it seem not soon enough.
“To shorten winter,” said W.J. Vogel, “borrow some money due in spring.”
Gary Brown writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.