03 Oct

I don’t hate winter. I don’t. I complain about winter more than any one human being really should, but that’s only because there’s just so darn much of it. San Franciscans complain about fog but they couldn’t really stand to live in San Francisco if they hated it. Seattle-ites complain about the rain, but they couldn’t bear those long grey winters if they really loathed it. My little mountainous corner of Idaho has winter and I complain, but I’d never survive if I really hated it.

Winter just feels so big, and lasts so long, that I never really escape it. Snow lingers on the mountains I see from my windows into July, which is also the month where I start fretting if I haven’t ordered firewood yet. I’ve lived here for seven years as an adult, and during one of those years I saw snowflakes, at least once, eleven months out of twelve. (That was a bad year. Summer lasted from July 1st, when the temperature broke 70 degrees for the first time, to August 29th. On Aug 30th it snowed.)

This wasn’t one of those years. This year we had a truly glorious summer that started early in May (MAY!) and lasted deep into September. My problem is that I’m already thinking about winter. Dreading it, preparing for it, fretting over how cold it will be and whether it will be a heavy snow year or a light one. Wondering if this is the year I should finally buy studded tires for my car. (Last year I got stuck in my driveway and had to put on chains to make it to the house.) Wondering when my neighbor will get around to delivering the firewood I ordered (in July).

It’s fall, and fall is glorious, but instead of enjoying it, I have a laser-like focus on what’s to come. But, except for getting on my neighbor about that delayed firewood, there’s nothing I can do. Winter will come, and it will be exactly as harsh or as mild as the jet stream (and whatever else goes into making weather, heck if I know) dictates and my dithering won’t change that. Maybe we’ll get a big storm and I won’t be able to make it into work and they’ll just have to figure out how to do without me. And maybe we won’t. That’s all for the future. This is a lesson I have to re-learn constantly. My life is happening *now* and I’m missing it.

Right now? The maple by my drive is a glorious red and the aspens that fringe my pasture are turning yellow. The crocuses are blooming, just like they do in the spring, making my flower beds look almost season-less. It’s time for butternut squash soup and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and digging my bread pans out and putting them to use. I have a home-made chai recipe that never feels right any other time of year. NaNoWriMo is just around the corner and I’m plotting out the last half of my never-ending book in the grand hope that maybe, this November, I’ll finish it. So I’m trying not to think about winter. I’m preparing, but I’m trying, so damn hard, to enjoy the fall. To “be here now” as Ram Dass wrote.

What about you? What are you doing to be here now? To mark and enjoy the changing season?


Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Idaho


14 responses to “Winter

  1. Judith Keim

    October 3, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    I have to admit that, like you, I don’t like winter. I have a two block walk from the parking lot to the store where I work and knowing what was about to come, I bought a longer down coat a couple of weeks ago. But I am enjoying the cooler weather and though I don’t like the gray, rainy days I’m doing a little “nesting” inside. For me, gazing at the foothills, enjoying the slower life of Boise, I find moments every day that please me,

    • Corina Mallory

      October 3, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      I bought a fantastic long down coat last year and it made winter so much more pleasant. I hope you love yours as much! I’m also a fan of scarves and mittens and wooly hats. As predicted, I actually did wake up to snow this morning. A whole half an inch of the wet and dreary stuff. It will be gone by afternoon, but that snow makes it even harder to think “fall” and not “winter”.

  2. Janis McCurry

    October 3, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Autumn in Boise is so beautiful! I am not looking forward to winter even though ours have been mild for the past several years. Perhaps it’s just aging and awareness of how fast time passes? I bought a great raincoat in Ireland ( they know how to “do” rain gear) and it’s very warm and toasty. It makes me think of my trip and then makes me smile.

    • Corina Mallory

      October 3, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      Winter and fall have some pretty heavy symbolic baggage that goes along with all the real-world inconvenience and unpleasantness. Ooooh, I want to see your Irish raincoat! One of my favorite scarves is a beautiful burgundy Scottish wool that I bought on my one and only trip to London. I always feel better about the weather, whatever it is, if I’m properly kitted out. It’s why a pair of Hunter boots and a real Barbour coat have long been on my wishlist. How could I not love fall if I got to tromp in soggy leaves wearing that!?!?

    • Judith Keim

      October 3, 2013 at 11:48 AM


  3. marsharwest

    October 3, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Corinna, dear I saw a map that didn’t please me much,but should make you smile a bit. Lots of the country in forecast to have a warmer than average October. We’re still in the 90s here in Texas. 😦
    And up east where I’m hoping to go see some fall leaves, (if the planes keep flying, which at this point seems a bit doubtful) it’s also supposed to be warmer. Warmer up east means less colorful leaves.
    I love fall and look forward to our almost annual trip that direction. In the past we’ve had some nice falls here in Texas, but we’re getting a bit peaked looking now–not very vibrant and for not very long.
    I’m pretty certain that weather map carried the warmer temps up as far away as y’all are, but no promises. I’m notoriously bad at geography. 🙂 Glad you’ve got the long coat, Corina. Bundle up, drink your tea, and stay warm.

    • Corina Mallory

      October 3, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      Thanks Marsha! You TX people have it rough! I follow a couple of bloggers who complain a lot about the Texas heat. We at least do have four distinct seasons, even if winter overshadows all of them. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, my little corner of the country is projected to have a wetter and colder winter than normal so … yeah. BUT! I probably should have included this in my post, but I get no small measure of joy from extreme weather, no matter what direction the extremity comes in. So if it’s going to be winter? I want it to be a blockbuster! (Until I’m actually shoveling that white stuff.)

      • marsharwest

        October 3, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        LOL We all like to complain about our own little whatever. I think I wrote a post recently about weather. Oh, yes. I did for a guest post next week on Oct. 10th Jeez. I’ll have to look up the name of the blog. If I find it, I’ll send it on. LOL You’ll appreciate the contrasts.

  4. maryvine

    October 3, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    I do have to tell myself to stop and take notice of the moment, but usually that’s in the summer when I really want to enjoy the moment in good weather and when I’m off work. When school is back in session, I am pretty much ready to focus on work and know the weather will change soon. I look to this time as coats and a throw on the couch where I read, watch tv and write. Go to a few more movies than usual. But I fear driving in snow, and don’t like those days because of that. I’m rambling, but I do hope you are successful with writing in November.

    • Corina Mallory

      October 3, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      Thanks Mary! I think there are things to enjoy about every season, be it the sunny heat of summer or the coziness of curling up on the sofa with Great Aunt Thelma’s crocheted afghan, a pile of cats, and a good book. I just love summer *so* much that I have a really hard time with the transition. I cling with both hands and cry like a toddler left with a grumpy relative who doesn’t have the right toys.

  5. Lynn Mapp

    October 3, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    Corina, until a week ago, the weather in Boise was warm. You know how it is in Idaho. Things changed quickly. I’m huddled in my sweater as I write this. But…I like the morning nip in the air, and the thought of hot soup is appealing.

    • Corina Mallory

      October 5, 2013 at 7:12 AM

      I do love soup! Switching from salad to soup is one transition I have no trouble making.

  6. Peggy Staggs

    October 4, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    I’m a winter person. I love the cold (probably left over from being born in Minnesota.) I remember walking home from Kindergarten and having to peek around the shoveled snow piles that lines the sidewalk to find my grandparents’ house. Gram always had hot chocolate and cookies.
    That said I love Spring when everything is blooming and fall when the trees turn colors. That leaves summer. : ( I’m not a warm weather person. Just ask my friends, I sweat and complain until the temperatures turn cool again.


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