Thursday, January 19, 2012
Baby, It's COLD Outside!
Got snow? We do, but hey, it’s January – in Michigan. So far this winter, we’ve been lucky not to have any blizzards or heavy snow storms, but winter isn’t over yet. This morning it’s cold with blowing snow, and road conditions aren’t good. Lots of area schools are delayed or closed, and temps are dropping, so my trip out here to the back fence will be a short one. I’ve got my warm, fleece-lined boots on, plus jeans and a warm sweatshirt. My barn jacket’s been replaced with a heavier ski jacket - the usual winter fashion statement around here. Ugh!
Guess you can tell I’m really not a cold weather kinda gal. When it’s cold and dark outside, my energy level drops, the urge to hibernate kicks in, and I just want to curl up with a good book and read...not write. It’s a seasonal thing, I’m told. All I know is I’d be much happier with only two seasons...Summer and Fall. Not sure what that would do for the farmers and their crops, but it would sure do me good. Especially when deadlines loom. I didn’t ask to be this way, but it is what it is, and I must learn to work through it.
Sunny, summer days when the temps are in the 80’s and days are longer are my favorite. Folks can begin to slow down their busy lives a little. It’s important to take time to enjoy the world around you. Observe the little things you’ll miss if you rush through life on maximum speed. Try a new flavor of ice cream and savor the way it tastes on your tongue. Tuck the memory away to draw on when winter blahs threaten. Walk along the lakeshore and watch the waves as they push the sand around on the beach. Build a sand castle and watch the waves take it out to sea. Take off your shoes and feel the wet sand ooze between your toes. Another memory to keep for future reference. Pick a luscious, red strawberry right out of the patch, instead of from a box in the store, and taste it’s sun-warmed sweetness. Share a cold drink with friends on the patio or deck and cherish the time together. Summer is made for slow, easy living. For storing memories to use later.
Then there’s those crisp, autumn days when a nip in the air has me grabbing a sweater and heading outdoors for an invigorating walk through the woods. Sunlight through the trees showcases God’s handiwork by painting the leaves brilliant gold, deepest burgundy, vivid orange and shiny green. Nature’s beauty at its finest. A morning cup of hot coffee on the deck can be a whole ‘nother experience as the season begins to change from warm to cool. Sights and sounds are different. The air smells different. Where I live, the surrounding apple orchards are beginning to bear fruit, crisp and juicy, and my kitchen smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, and all the aromas of freshly-baked apple pies.
There’s always a trip to the fantastic wineries in our state to look forward to each Fall. Acres of grape arbors wind through the fields. Tasting tours introduce new wines and bring back old favorites. Fall festivals abound in our state. It’s a busy, happy time. A season for making more memories to store in your memory bank.
Yep, I love these two seasons. I thrive in warmth and sunshine. I know Spring and Winter have their own special beauty, too, and I appreciate that, but for me it’s Summer and Fall. So in order to work through the dark days of winter, I make certain I keep word pictures in my journals of the places I go and the activities I enjoy during my favorite seasons. Photos, too, since I love visual reminders.
What about you? Do you have a favorite season where you live? How does the change affect your present lifestyle? Does it impact the personalities of the people around you? If you’re a writer, does the change of seasons impact your writing? How?
These are some of the questions I ask myself when I begin writing a new story with characters I’ve just begun to meet. The locale is as important to me as the characters. In order to make those characters believable, I need to know everything about them and the place where they live. Everything! Taking time to observe these seasons of change in my own life is the first step to understanding the people who live in my books. Even if I don’t love cold weather.
Oh, by the way, I may or may not be able to reply to comments again today. My laptop will be having the data transferred to my new one. But I’ll stop by the fence tomorrow and see if Google, or Yahoo, or whoever controls the techie stuff inside my computer, likes me again. Or maybe it’s just the cold and snow. Ha!