Boston Winter 101

Where have I been, you ask?  One might say I’ve been distracted by the changing of seasons, in many ways.  I shall explain.

I came back to Boston after Christmas jaunts up and down the west coast and, HELLO, here’s WINTER!  As in, snow banks taking up most of the sidewalk.  Bluebird days aplenty – you know, freezing cold but bright blue.  Just like the last time I got back from Christmas.

Except, totally unlike that last winter, this one decided to keep at it.  As in, rumor has it that January was the third snowiest in Boston’s history.  The locals will complain about that every chance they get.

So, even though this is my second winter here, I’m figuring out all this business for the very first time.  I look back on last winter, which I honestly don’t recall being colder than 20 degrees ever, and I chuckle – it’s as though I learned nothing!  No shoveling, no battles with ice, no snow berms higher than my head.  Actually, I don’t think I knew what a “berm” was…

So, for those of you who don’t know that term either, I suspect the following list will be quite useful to you as well.  A round-up of some of my biggest lessons in Proper Winter thus far:

1.  Watch out for ice…  on the roof, not just underfoot.

Turns out, if there is a lot of snow and ice piled on your roof, the law of gravity is free to act upon it.  Then, on a “wintry mix” day (another official weather term I had never heard of, implying a swirl of snow, sleet, and rain through the course of a day), that rain and the related above-freezing temperatures might melt that ice/snow pile enough… to fall on your car.  My boyfriend has a new car door and window, and I learned the art of ghetto taping a window.  Lessons from Vallejo and Boston combine!

2. Snow shoveling is fun… for the first 2 hours.

Be sure to not favor one wrist/arm over the other.  Or your wrist will still hurt a week later, as mine does.  At least 2-3 hours of snow shoveling makes for lots of good quick conversations with passersby.  Especially if you’re chipping at a wall of ice with a caveman-like tool.  I no longer take pre-shoveled, decently wide sidewalks as you see above for granted.

3.  You don’t have to leave town to go mountain climbing.

… or to get a military-style workout.  The 3-mile walk from Harvard to the MFA in Boston over the weekend took about 1 hour, 45 minutes.  And we planned for 1 hour.  We simply didn’t anticipate how slushy/icy/unplowed the sidewalks would be between the two.  And after balancing on ice or jumping from one side to the next for nearly two hours, my boyfriend and I were somehow both ravenous.  The amount of crackers I consumed the next day confirmed that our slow trek was not for naught.

4. Winter is simply beautiful.

Sure, I tease about all this snow business.  To be quite honest, I’m completely taken by it.  Every day even the most familiar sidewalks and settings look different.  It makes me honestly a little sad that I didn’t decide to launch into some time-lapse photography on the sidewalk outside our place…  And every time I tramp through a fresh pile of snow, I get so darn excited about winter that I literally nearly call home to California to share my joy.  Really.

And even though winter hardly seems like a season of growth, I would argue the opposite.  Nicely timed with the new year, when we all make resolutions of some sort, I have found it to actually be the greatest time of new growth and regeneration – at least for myself, these past two years.  We might stay indoors a bit more, as does everyone, but that leaves extra space for thinking about who we are and what we want to be doing, and more free time to try these out.  And when the scene outside changes drastically each and every day, there’s no better reminder that we’re capable of doing the same.

And, hey, check in with me in a week or two – if my wrist is still sore, the attitude might not remain so sunny.  But for now, I’m still on Team Winter.  Who knew?

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