And I thought I knew winter…

I live in the Southeastern corner of the United States. We have hot and humid summers and fairly mild winters in this part of the country.

As I type this, the forecast for today is 53F and rain.

Growing up in Atlanta I dreamed of a white Christmas…every single year. Though we had a little snow in the winter, it usually lasted no more than one day and it almost always occurred in the months of January, February or March.

We hardly ever got snow in December, but I always loved the winter. The bare trees, the cool weather, and the bright, clear skies were (and still are) my favorite things about the season.

Years ago, Mr. LaVeaux and I traveled to the upper Midwest to visit his family on Christmas Eve. I was excited to see Wisconsin in the snow but wasn’t prepared for what lay in wait for me up there.

When our plane touched down, I looked out the window at the winter wonderland we’d entered. It was beautiful, but I had no idea the brutality of the beauty that awaited me outside.

Once we stepped out of the airport terminal, my body was lashed by furious winds and frigid cold air. The cold literally took my breath away, pulled it out of my lungs. My skin pricked in the icy air. I wondered if the breezes were blowing in from Lake Michigan, carrying the cold in on a westward wind.

All I knew at that moment was that I didn’t like cold weather anymore, at least not this. I preferred our winters back home. You know, the kind where you could sit outside at night with just a warm jacket on and go about your day wearing a long-sleeved shirt and shorts if you felt so inclined. Here, I felt like I needed a parka.

Mr. LaVeaux likes to tell folks that I used to think I liked the winter. I did…until I experienced what a real winter felt like.

Up until that trip, I honestly had no idea.

In the rental car, I watched the snowy landscape pass me by as we headed to my sister-in-law’s house. It took my body a full half hour to warm up after a short exposure to the cold. Thirty full minutes. I thought I knew what winter was like. I didn’t realize just how mistaken I had been.

We were sitting around the dining room table next to the French doors that opened out onto the deck. The yard and deck were covered in a thick blanket of snow.

I won’t lie. It was gorgeous.

But the thermometer outside freaked me out.

It was mid-day and the high was 10F. To top it off, the winds were howling at 50mph. I sat in my chair and watched the winds pick up the snow and blow it around the yard…slapping the already-heavy-laden trees with a new white coating.

To say this was surreal is an understatement. For a person having lived their entire life in the Deep South, this was the experience of a lifetime. I’ll never forget watching that winter day come and go.

When winter rolls around each year, I am reminded of the stark beauty and brutal reality of winter in the states above Georgia. I love to look at the pictures and hear stories about living in the snowy months of winter. I love even more right where I am, where I can get out and do things and not have to worry about scraping snow off my driveway every morning.

When I want to experience the snow, I know where to go. For now, I’ll just enjoy my mild, green Christmas.

Happy Christmas, Happy Solstice, Happy Hannukah…heck, Happy Holidays across the board, from my house to yours.

Peace.

Photo credit: althomedecor.tk

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