The light is different now, so I feel we’ve turned a corner on blizzards and icy roads. Winter is a season we take seriously in the Midwest. Wind chill is included when talking about temperature: Fifteen degrees, but feels like minus three with the wind chill factor . . .
Last month my husband and I went to Mexico for a week of sunshine. We packed light and left our winter coats in the car at the airport Perfect.
We traveled to Akumal, a small, quiet beach town noted for snorkeling and turtles. Akumal is an easy drive on a good highway about an hour and change from the more lively Cancun. For ecological reasons, there are no hotels taller than four stories; the two mile road into Akumal beach is populated by pedestrian and bike traffic and cars go slowly to avoid the potholes.
On this two mile stretch there’s a lagoon famous for its clear water snorkeling, a few good restaurants and shops and Lucy’s, a stand selling homemade coconut ice cream.
I didn’t miss television or the news; I didn’t miss not having access to email or cell phones. I didn’t even miss the kids (it was only a week, after all). But most of all: I didn’t miss winter. Every morning, I took my coffee on a patio which faced the water and appreciated how easy it was to walk outside at any time without even thinking about it. Inside flowed into outside as fluidly as a wave. There was little difference. We ate at a local restaurant that wasn’t even in a building; there were just a few tables outside in front of a kitchen.
It seemed so easy to live where you didn’t have to brace against the cold. Where you didn’t have to protect yourself with layers of clothes: scarves, hats, boots. Oh, the boots. Don’t even mention toddlers in snowsuits.
I know people who say how much they love the change of seasons. How they would miss the turning of the leaves in autumn. How they anticipate the first tulips in spring. How beautiful is that first snow.
I might agree if winter lasted – oh, maybe a couple of weeks. We have a fireplace. I like a hearty stew. But months of scraping the windshield and searching for lost mittens is too much.
A few more weeks on my calendar and its spring. Which in the Midwest means it’s still too early to put away the wool socks.