So tomorrow we have a cold front moving in. Here in Austin, we are just finishing with our real feel 100+ degree weather and most everyone is excited about the front. Everyone will break out their flannels and jeans and boots, and I will be one of them. The cold front will last 3 or 4 days before the temperature hikes back up to high 70’s/mid 80’s.
We laugh about “sweater weather” here. Our Arctic blast. Most love the colder temps until they drop too far. Too far for here is around 55 degrees. After a few weeks of this, most seem to begin longing for the warmer days. Many winters, we only get a handful of these colder temps. It’s rare to have full on freezes and when it snows everyone loses their shit. It’s exciting and frightening all at once. Mind you, it rarely sticks and is usually only a few flakes mixed with rain and sleet. But still, it is such a break in our common weather cycle that everyone decides they must shut down the city. You East coasters must roll your eyes at us southerners. By mid January, most here are ready for Spring.
I have a confession to make. I hate warm weather. I cringe when I see even mid 70’s in the forecast. I secretly pray every year that the 4 day cold front will miraculously turn into a full on blizzard. I scout the internet for pictures like the one below and daydream about that being my space. I long to sit at a coffee shop with a hot drink watching the cold through the window. And there must be a fireplace somewhere in that scenario.
Dark, cloudy, days make me happy — especially if it happens to be raining or snowing. On a cloudy day there is beauty in the various colours and shapes of the clouds: white, light grey, dark grey, black. The clouds may be moving fast or slow, forever changing. There is a cool, refreshing breeze or a chilling bite in the air. And who doesn’t enjoy the beauty of falling snow or the fresh scent of the cool rain coming down. There is a sense of excitement when watching the weather forecast. Something exciting is happening or about to happen. Especially here in Central Texas. Will an Arctic blast actually create a winter wonderland for us this year? I have only seen it once in the 12 years I have lived here, and it only lasted a couple days. Not long enough in my book!
Before anyone starts jumping to any conclusions, let me clarify. I am not sad or depressed in warm weather. At least not excessively so. I just withdraw more. I am less excited about leaving the air conditioned space within my home, and I keep the window unit next to my bed at the lowest possible temperature. Poor husband bravely freezes every night so I don’t overheat. So am I weird? Possibly, but I don’t think so.
Even though the numbers are low, I am not alone in liking grey skies, cold weather and thunderstorms. Most people believe that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is only triggered by winters or sunless, rainy days due to the lack of sunlight, but in some rare cases, people feel depressed on sunny days and cloudy, dull skies make them happy. The condition is known as reverse SAD. About 10% of all SAD sufferers experience it in reverse. I think I have a mild case to be honest.
For me, when the cold temperatures hit I actually start feeling more alive. My brain seems to wake up and ideas begin to flow again. New York University’s professor Adam Alter said, “Sunshine dulls the mind to risk and thoughtfulness.” A research study conducted by social psychologists in Australia concluded that good weather could hinder our cognitive functions. On cold cloudy days, our minds are less distracted and drawn inward to think more deeply, hence increasing our focus on the task at hand or the idea in our head.
Spiritually I grow the most in the winter season. My husband, who is the opposite of me in all this I will add, just spent some time in Aspen with some good friends. One of them explained how she NEEDS the harsh winter weather to grow spiritually. It isn’t a choice for her. I completely understand, hence my fantasies of living in Sweden, bundled up by the fire. I honestly pray that one year I will get to live out a winter season in a part of the world that actually has winter. There is always the possibility of me hating it once I am in the thick of it. But something inside me doesn’t believe that. This is probably the number one reason why my husband isn’t likely to agree to it, I imagine he is afraid I will never want to leave.
My season is coming, tomorrow will be just a tease but I will take it. My brain is stretching awake and my soul is opening up to all the possibilities of growth. Will I get my blizzard this year? I suppose anything is possible. What season wakes you up to all your potential?