The book “The Geography of Bliss” concurs that those that live in colder climates are happier. The author concluded that the shorter days and harsh weather bring us closer to each other and more dependent on others, whether it’s family or neighbors or friends. It forces us to spend more time together & to check on each other in nasty weather. And that dependence and togetherness made us happy. I’m not sure, but perhaps that’s why I love winter in Michigan. Yet there are other reasons as well. Have you ever walked through the woods after a heavy snowfall? It’s magical. Have you ever gone sledding? Crazy fun. Have you ever had the chance to drive along the lakeshore and see the icebergs forming and notice how quiet the lake becomes once they form? It’s eerie. Have you ever seen how the ice-cycles form on roofs or car wheelhouses or trees or branches or almost anything that heats up, melts then freezes again? It’s so cool. Have you ever gone hard water fishing and drilled through the ice and witnessed the changing layers of ice and get so excited when you finally reach water? It’s a thrill. Have you ever skied downhill as fast as you can knowing you are way over your comfort zone but not caring because you are either having so much fun or you just simply don’t care? I have. Have you ever sat inside your house during a winter storm and it’s blowing crazy outside and you can’t see out your windows and you get totally snowed in and the dog goes outside because she can’t wait to play in the snow and school is cancelled and everyone is crazy excited about the weather? Me and my kids and my puppy have. Have you every helped someone out after they have driven into a snowdrift? I have. Have you ever walked your kids to school in the dark and snowy and blowy and icy winter and then the two of you laugh about it after you get home? I have. Have you ever seen the absolute joy and pure bliss of waking your kid up and telling them it’s a snow day? I have. Have you ever shoveled your driveway and turned around and witnessed it filling right back up with snow and laugh about it? I have. Have you ever watched your neighbor come over with his snowblower and wave to you as you look out the window? I have. Have you ever felt the burn of water on your cheeks or fingers or feet or little inch at your waist where your pants didn’t quite meet your jacket after you’ve been outside too long and you want to get warm again so you take a hot shower? I have. Have you ever had a snowball fight? They’re the best. Winter is a special time that few enjoy and most seem to complain about.
Poets loved winter. I believe Spring is the most written about season, yet winter comes a very close second. And you know why? Well, I don’t. But I can guess. And my guess would be because there is a strange, serene, almost ghost-like-out-of-body experience about winter. It’s a time to write. It’s a time to read. It’s a time to catch up and to slow down and to paint and to create. It reminds us to re-connect.
Hey January in Michigan, I’m ready for ya. I love your crazy, unpredictable weather. I love that you are brutal. I love that you take my breath away. The Geography of Bliss was right on, our colder climate right here, right now, does indeed make me happier. January, you are indeed pure winter.
With love from Grand Haven,
Is not January alone pure winter? December belongs to the fall—is a wintery November—February to the spring—it is a snowy March.—Journal, 9 February 1854.
Henry David Thoreau