This one is especially for my friends who are in much colder places than Seattle right now.
I love snow, but I’ll be the first to admit that winter is not my season. If I were a superhero, my weakness would be the cold. I can sit in a 60º room with a sweater on and start shivering. I look at the beginning of December like an overloaded hiker staring up at an enormous, ice-capped mountain: ugh, how the hell am I going to get over that?
Over the years, I’ve developed a few strategies to survive the chilly months. Much to my husband’s dismay, I begin wearing a minimum of eight pieces of clothing at all times. I spend the first ten minutes of every shower convincing my body that yes, it is possible to be warm again. I turn the heat in my office up past 70 on both the thermostat and the space heater that sits directly behind my chair. And when breathing outside feels like inhaling knives, when I lose feeling in my toes in the first five minutes of my run, when my shoulder muscles have braided themselves into permanent knots and my hands are too stiff from the cold to type, I like to take a few minutes and summon summer.
In my mind, I kick off my shoes, peel away my thick wool socks, and step out onto the sand. It’s hot under my bare soles, but since my feet were freezing a moment ago, they don’t mind. I breathe in the warm, salty air, and the dry ache in my sinuses eases. My shoulders fall and I stand taller as I walk, emerging from my heat-conserving winter huddle. I feel the first prickles of sweat under all of my absurd layers of clothing, and so I begin to take them off.
First I strip off my gloves and stuff them into my outer pockets. I unbutton my scratchy wool coat, unwind my blue scarf from my neck, and let them fall into the sand. Then I pull my thick, staticky sweater over my head and drop it. This knocks my fleece-lined hat off, too, and I leave it behind me. Maybe a crab will burrow out from the sand and scurry away with my floppy hat perched on his shell; he’s welcome to it.
I often wear another long-sleeved shirt under my sweater, and I wad that into a ball and toss it over my shoulder. My stiff jeans are next—who needs those thick, restrictive things? Not me! The seagulls can tear them into nests on the rocks for all I care. I sling-shot my stretchy camisole over a dune. I don’t watch to see where it lands, because before me stretches the softly roaring Pacific Ocean, its beautiful waves shining as they crest and break.
As I reach the last lip of sand before the water’s edge, I’m wearing a thin pair of shorts and a bikini top, and my pale winter skin is drinking sunlight through every pore. I lay down and make sand angels, wiggling into the scratchy, radiant heat and closing my eyes as the sun bakes its way into my bones. The surf slides up to kiss my toes and it’s pleasantly cool. Every cell in my body is relaxed, at peace, cupped by sand and sun and welcoming warm air. With no cares in the world, I nap.
And now it’s your turn. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, in any season, where would you be? Tell me about it in the comments!