In appreciation of cold weather

I know, I know, it's easy to say you appreciate cold weather when you are not currently in it, but I contend that living in the frigid land known as Chicago makes it possible to appreciate the beautiful weather here in a way that we wouldn't otherwise. Not to rub it in to friends at home, but the weather here is truly gorgeous... sunny, blue skies, warm in the daytime with temperatures around 80 degrees, green grass, blooming flowers, and cool nights. The doors stay open all day long and there is very little difference between inside and outside temperatures. If you are from a colder climate, think for a moment how many people you would see outside on such a day as I describe.

Would it surprise you if I told you that we see very few people just being outside? Ever since I've moved away it is the thing that surprises me the most when I come back. (I'm not talking about summer here. That's as brutally hot as Chicago is cold in the winter... in fact I think it's worse.) I'm talking about absolutely perfect weather... and no one is outside. No one. Even my children have remarked on it.

Having grown up here, though, I do understand. This is the norm; it is always like this. You take it for granted. In fact, a cloudy, cool day is cause for excitement. Rain is a big deal. The normal, everyday gorgeousness is just a fact of life and no one thinks anything about it. Humans tend to ignore the things that just are, we are good at overlooking our blessings. I can tell you though, when it is not the everyday for you, it is cause for celebration. We are very much appreciating the blessings of good weather at the moment.

The other thing that living in very cold weather will do is to create very hardy children. My parents do not have a pool, but their next door neighbors do and they have graciously opened their pool to my family to swim. The children have swum for two days in a row... which is the cause of much amazement among everyone who hears of such a thing. You see, most backyard pools here are not heated, thus it takes a good long string of warm days to bring the water temperature up to what is considered tolerable. May is really the start of swimming season; one doesn't tend to swim in pools in the "colder" months.

Here is the crew swimming in the cold pool, though it is probably warmer than Lake Michigan at the beginning of beach season.


Speaking of taking things for granted... having grown up with citrus trees in everyone's yard, I still don't even think twice about it. In fact, oranges and grapefruits are the southwest equivalent of zucchinis in the Midwest in summer. People try to get rid of them by foisting bags off on their neighbors. Next to the pool, my parents' neighbors have orange and grapefruit trees growing. No one paid much attention because my parents also have orange trees, but then A. noticed that one of the trees had grapefruit. Grapefruit! Her favorite thing. They were given happy permission to pick as many grapefruit as they wanted. The joy!

It was a little too sunny for L. to look at the camera, but she was very excited by her grapefruit.


Ann said…
Another key reason you don't see people outside is that they're watching TV or on their computers. Kids too. There are lots of children in my old neighborhood, but they play outside less than we did as kids.

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