I've Lived In Chico, CA 9 Years Now. Incredible.
Who Stole Winter?
Being a true Chicagoan I grudgingly accept, but mostly lament, that winters here in California mean snow, albeit half an hour away from me in a region accessible only by a car equipped with chains. So be it. Last year I was invited to go snowshoeing; too lazy to go, I was still comforted to know that I could find white stuff and scary conditions if I needed exposure, which helped me cope in this strange new land.
Well, fellow Northern Californians, what gives? Yesterday the merest hint of some precipitation was suggested as a forecast possibility (rain for Chico, meaning **snow**for the nearby mountain areas!) I waited and waited and…nothing. In fact, we got a little sun again. All winter long here it’s been unrelentingly sunny. Warm, too, even though “some” people think 60 degrees is cold. (I laugh at your woolen hats and shake my head behind your fluffy-coated backs).
Though Chicago during our holiday visit was colder than it is here, there was no snow there either. We hardly froze, and I hear it’s been about 50 degrees there lately. This lack of winter blast here or there has had an odd and depressing effect upon me for which I had no words or explanation, until I finally got around to reading Chicago Tribune writer Mary Schmich’s column this evening. There she laid out the feeling of unreality Chicagoans deal with when winter just doesn’t act seasonal. In her fairy-tale account of the “winter that wasn’t” in Chicago so far, Mary writes that
…the true Chicago people knew that without the beast, they were not themselves. Without him to fortify them, to help them divide one season from the others, to teach them the horrors of frozen dog poop, they were just wimps who thought every day was May, as pathetic as Californians.
With my heart in two states I am experiencing a double-whammy of disequilibrium. Without snow in Chicago, our characters starve and we do turn wimpy. Without snow in our mountains and rain in our Valleys, we Californians face a long, hot summer of drought conditions. Now that’s pathetic. I would welcome the specter of frozen dog poop, or frozen anything - as long as I have to put chains on the car to see it, that is. I admit it. I am getting spoiled.