A few months ago, one of my friends admitted that she hates winter. It’s not the first time I’ve heard the complaint, and I do understand it. It’s cold, after all. It’s mostly brown and dead. And, for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, all of it can be become rather depressing.
But, in Kentucky, winter is my favorite season. In turn, I decided to send my sweet, smart friend a list of reasons as little pick-me-ups as she fights her way to spring. It’s occurred to me this list might be useful to you, too. So, here we go:
- The best naps.
Bad and cold weather gives you carte blanche to skip the errands, collect the doggies and head to the couch to read under a soft blanket. For me, there is nothing like finishing the page, closing my eyes and slipping off to sleep for an hour or so, only to awaken to realize it’s time for dinner.
- Winter meals.
While I’ll admit there is plenty of space in my heart for a fresh summer tomato and a May day strawberry, there is nothing like the complexity of winter stews, soups, curries, chilis and braises. The winter just makes me want to be in the warm, humming kitchen, chopping away while I binge-watch an episode of Ray Donovan, firm in the knowledge that whatever I make will taste even better the next day.
- Soft lighting.
Lit candles and sitting by the fire, possibly with a glass of wine, is the bedrock of terrific conversation. The end.
- Oscar season.
The best movies are either in the theatre this time of year or showing up on Netflix and Amazon. So far, I’ve seen Parasite (so original!), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Pitt and DiCaprio? Yum), 1917 (incredibly filmed), Ford v. Ferrari (prepare to get familiar with the edge of your seat) and Marriage Story (beautifully written and acted). I’ve loved them all.
- Cool doggies.
If your dogs are anything like ours, they get over-heated running in the summer. But they love long, pant-free walks and runs around our neighborhood all through January and February. Tilly and Fitz don’t have undercoats, which means, to stay warm, they have to wear:
- Cool doggy sweaters.
I’m going to go ahead and admit that I bought Fitz a sweater this year that’s meant to be worn in Aspen during après ski. I bought Tilly a plaid turtleneck with long sleeves. Seeing them jauntily wear their bougie sweaters during our walks brings me endless joy.
- Paper whites.
You get to watch something green and gorgeous bloom in your house while everything else sleeps outside. What grows gratitude more than that?
- Warm drinks.
This time of year, our stash of Harney & Sons peppermint tea needs frequent replenishment, since a warm cup of tea is like a cup of instant cozy. Likewise, with a hot toddy after a long, cold day, with lots of lemon and honey.
- Groundhog Day.
I think this humble little holiday is the most overlooked of the year. Our tradition is to watch the eponymously-named movie and laugh all over again at Ned Ryerson. Generally, this comes with take-out. I highly recommend it.
- Super Bowl.
I’ve got two words for you: chicken wings. And here’s another one: nachos. ’Nough said.
- Citrus season.
I’m putting together a column about the beauty of citrus, so I won’t say too much now. But know that oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruit are now in season and taste like dreams (the good kind).
- Deep quiet.
Get outside every now and then and notice how beautifully quiet it is over these months. No lawnmowers roaring, no ATVs and RZRs speeding down the road, no random fireworks, just cottony quiet. It does your heart good.
- Moody dogwoods.
Dogwoods are my favorite kind of tree because they are pretty every time of year. But have you noticed? Especially near Christmas, their beauty reaches a new depth. Their leaves become a mixture of maroon, cocoa and slate gray. Their berry clusters are stop-sign red. And after? Their limbs are silent sculptures just waiting to capture snow.
- Blizzards, duh.
I’ve arrived at the point in my life where I’m not sure I can be friends with someone who doesn’t love heaps and heaps of snow. While I do recognize that driving in it can be treacherous, there are so many benefits to a blizzard in Kentucky. Namely: it’s beautiful. You get to go crisis grocery shopping and stock up on staples like eggs and milk and Doritos and mac and cheese. You get to not go to school. If it’s bad enough, you get to not go to work. You get to go sledding. You get to make snow cream. You get to drink hot chocolate. With Bailey’s, if you’re lucky.
So here is to winter, dear readers. Whether you like it or not, it’s here to stay for a while. Let’s make the most of it.