Winter Warrior Status: Survivor – 25 years and counting

When it’s winter in Chicago, everyone feels like a warrior – you can see the warpaint on the red faces on the street.  Everyone battles the cold just to get on the bus or get to work.  Everyone goes to war the moment they step out of their homes.  They put on their armor – the long underwear, the gloves, the hats, the coats and scarves.

The enemy is tricksy (Gollum voice).  He (clearly Winter is male) is cruel with his ferocious winds…he limits the daylight to only a few hours a day because he prefers you live in darkness!  All the better to defeat you…

This is your enemy. Look at his “don’t mess with me” expression…he will leave you defeated and huddled at home over a heater ALONE.

He is this giant beast that keeps all of your friends fearful –  hiding in their apartments instead of at your birthday party or dinner party.  All your work events become dependent on the weather – it is this fickle enemy that will either take it easy on you or make you wish you were never born.

Yet, staring out my window at the gleaming bright snow, I don’t know that I could survive anywhere without a cold winter.  It’s a time a reflection and seclusion in a way.  You realize what’s really important to you – what will pull you out of your seclusion for battle… You learn about yourself.  Do you take the easy way out?  Do you rise to the challenge?  How strong is your will?

We in Chicago tend to be like bears…hibernating indoors until the flirtation of warmth pulls us out.

Winter is a time of scrabble, movies, chess, close friends and family, making art, playing music, reading, tea,  cuddling, hot chocolate, baked goods and such and such.  It makes you feel all warm inside sometimes.

But then you remember the ugly beast outside your door and like in any war, you prepare by doing things like:  stocking up on canned foods, extra armor and weapons of war (extra space heaters, blankets, ugly wool socks, gross shoes you’d never wear any other time but are entirely justifiable during the winter).

So here’s a toast (Baileys is justifiable in your morning coffee during the winter – you’ve got to stay warm) to my fellow brave warriors in the Midwest.  Godspeed.

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