I didn’t ask for it but yes, it came anyway. It is, after all, December in Northern Indiana. And, just as it has for thousands of years before this year, winter has arrived back in this part of the world. I’ve been watching the months peel off the calendar, all the while knowing the inevitable was coming. During all those spring and summer months when everyone is parading around in as little as is required to remain decent by societies standards knowing all along that, at some point, we are going to pay the price for this nice weather.
And now, it is, as predicted, here. The cold winter air, aided all the more by a seemingly constant breeze off the lake that manages to make 30 degrees bite through your flesh and leave a thin-film of frost on your skeleton in those areas that fail to get adequately covered. The snow. So pretty during that first accumulating snowfall when everything in sight gets freshly repainted in a new covering of white. So quick to lose its luster once tainted by salt and sand. The evil necessities of maintaining a “normal” life during this time of year. Worse yet, the thaw after that first snow that turns pretty snow to mush. You know, the one that conceals the puddles beneath guaranteed to run straight through the shoe to be fully absorbed by the sock resulting in one of the oddest pirouette dance moves. That pirouette, coupled with the guttural yelp of skin completely submerged in ice water that is sure to bring Holiday cheer to everyone else’s hearts, thankful it wasn’t them to have made such a gaff.
So why am I here, right? If you’ve got a problem with the weather just move to someplace more fitting to your likes. The answer, for me, obviously, it is HOME. My parents brought me into the world here and, despite going off to college (albeit to a place even colder than here) I made my way back here to settle down. At this point though, attrition and death has drastically shrunk those family ties that brought me back here. Sometimes I think it is the four seasons that do it for me. The new life of spring, the growth and blooming of summer, the harvest of the fall. The evil necessity is the dormancy that winter requires to witness the great gifts experienced in the other three seasons. Sometimes I think it is just flat-out defiance. A refusal to let something other than my own will determine my course in life. Damn that cold winter wind! Blow your brains out if you dare. I’m here to stay, with or without you. Now, my wife would rather refer to that as my own ignorance rather than defiance. Unfortunately, I am yet to convince her that I am always right, despite repeated attempts to sway her thinking.
So why are you here? Any of you living North of the 39th Parallel. There are a bajillion of us. Tell me, what keeps you here?