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Lovers of cold icily lord it over the rest of us page 2

Date published: 1/5/2013


Now that the suntan of summer has gone the way of bacon and eggs, the skier's windburn and occasional crutches have replaced it as emblems of vigor and the healthy outdoor life. If the summer sun has become our enemy, dark winter must be our new friend. The brave leap into its arms. The rest of us can only wait for July, when the wretched creatures wilt, sweat, sicken, and turn pale. "I love the heat," we can say, blooming aggressively.

The trouble with winter is that it's winter all the way through. Other seasons make progress; temperatures grow warmer or cooler, waves of flowers or leaf colors succeed each other. Winter simply moves in and stops dead. The snows of December look remarkably like the snows of March, and a bare tree remains a bare tree for months.

Only the contracting and then expanding hours of daylight show any sign of time passing. Small wonder our ancestors whooped it up at the solstice--how else to sustain our loony faith in spring, with nature in a coma or possibly stone-cold dead?

There are pleasures to be wrung from winter, though many are negative ones, like finally getting our feet warm or the car started or the walk cleared.

There's sex, for instance. It stands to reason that sex is better in winter than in summer; old-timers may remember Cole Porter's song, "Too Darn Hot," in "Kiss Me, Kate." The healthy human body radiates a temperature of 98.6, or considerably warmer than the usual room, and winter urges us to cuddle up to it, as cats who sleep widely separated in August are inextricably entwined in January. Obstetricians are fond of saying, "If we've had a bad winter, I'll have a busy fall."

Sex in front of an open fireplace was more entertaining than sex in front of the ecologically correct sealed wood-stove, but all is not lost; sex under a down comforter beats wrestling with the heaped blankets of yesteryear.

Then there are the winter projects. Winter is the natural time to clean out the files, read the great books of the Western world, build bookshelves, knit sweaters, and organize the basement. Completing these tasks gives us the glow of accomplishment plus the sense of time freed up for different pursuits in better weather.

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