Winter is Coming...

November 15, 2016

 

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?
John Steinbeck

Winter is coming and I know that some of you are just dreading it. It’s your first winter in Boston, and you’ve heard all of the horror stories, especially of the 2014-2015 record setting snowfall. You’re scared of the snow, the ice, the wind, and the freezing temperatures.
 
Full disclosure - I was born and was raised in New England, first in Connecticut and then in Massachusetts. I looked forward to snow days when school was canceled, I survived the blizzard of 1978, and I still remember back to a particularly beautiful snowfall on Christmas Eve when I was a kid. One of the most gorgeous and peaceful places I’ve been is deep in the woods in northern New Hampshire, surrounded by total silence and snow covered trees.
 

So I don’t mind the winter, and there are even things I really love about it. But I know many of you live in fear of the impending snow and cold. I know I won’t be able to convince all of you to embrace winter, but instead of dreading it, why not find something to love about it? As is often the case, the anticipation of something turns out to be worse than the actual experience, and does complaining about it ever make it better?

So here are my 10 to do's to deal with winter and maybe even enjoy it…

  1. Choose the right outfit. - Remember, there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.  To survive winter, the first rule is to adjust your wardrobe - think waterproof, windproof, and lots of layers! If you are looking for a list of what to wear/buy for winter, read this. I completely agree that LL Bean boots are the way to go. And my friend Lauren will never forgive me if I don’t mention silk long underwear (I get mine from Uniqlo).

  2. Shift your mindset - Read the Norwegian Secret to Enjoying Winter. Rather than distracting yourself, cherish the unique beauty and coziness of the season. Get out your notebook, camera, or sketchpad and capture whatever catches your senses about this  season.

  3. Try winter sports - if you’ve never been able to skate or ski or snowboard, now is your chance! I love skating at the Kendall Square rink and the Boston Common. Or check out the MIT Outing Club. They organize trips and rent equipment (even a small sled for $1!).

  4. Get outside - If I can’t convince you to try a new sport, at least go out. There is nothing better than a little fresh air, sunshine, and a brisk walk to boost your mood.

  5. Accessorize - Buy or make yourself a beautiful hat, sweater or pair of mittens.

  6. Find winter readings - If you love reading, pick a book set in a winter landscape. You can go for the cozy feel of winter in “Little House in the Big Woods”, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, a very popular children’s novel about pioneer life in Wisconsin in the 1870s. Or if you want to feel thankful that you are not sleeping in a tent outside in below freezing temperatures, read John Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air”, an account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. Want a reading list to last you until spring? Check out this google doc for suggestions from myself and MS&PC members Kathleen Sullivan and Shannon Clarkin Delaware. And don’t forget about poetry - I have loved “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost since I was a kid.

  7. Enjoy comfort foods - Winter is the time to make stews, soups, homemade bread and hot drinks. Last year I learned how to make chicken stock from scratch. It warmed up the whole house, and it was delicious! I am also a huge fan of hot chocolate at LA Burdicks in Harvard Square.

  8. Plan a party - celebrate the Winter Solstice, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, or anything else for that matter. Give yourself something to look forward to.

  9. Make plans - Plan your garden or your spring vacation. Spend your days looking through seed catalogs or travel brochures, fantasizing about what you’ll do and where you’ll go. Even if you never end up planting a garden or taking a trip, it might boost your mood and get your mind off the winter weather.

  10. Enjoy winter Boston style - Try one of the unique events that the Boston area offers: Somerville’s Illuminations Tour, a trolley tour of the lavishly decorated houses around town and a personal favorite of mine, or the Christmas Revels, a theatrical celebration of the winter solstice that travels the world each year showcasing cultural traditions including music, dance, folk tales and rituals.

I can’t tell you when the snow will start or how much will fall this year. I can’t guarantee that any of  the suggestions on this list will work for you. But I can tell you that you will appreciate summer in New England even more after surviving your first winter!

 

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,

a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If your mind isn't crowded with ten thousand things,

this is the best season of your life.

Wu-Men

 

Happy Winter everyone!

Jennifer

 

P.S. If you happen to be one of those MS&PC members who absolutely love winter, or just don’t mind it too much, let me know. I have a fun project we can work on together….

P.P.S. Thanks to my mom and dad for digging out these pictures from my childhood!