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I'm Loving the Winter

January 3, 2021 | by Emuna Braverman

After living for so long in California where the weather never changes, I am reveling in the cold and the snow.

Southern California has many wonderful attributes, but what it doesn’t have is weather.

What? Of course, it has weather! you respond. It has the most beautiful weather in the country. That’s why everyone wants to live there!

Yes, it has many beautiful sunny days. Yes, I used to love sending my east coast family pictures of my husband and I at the beach in February (not evidence of an exemplary character trait). Yes, it was certainly easier to raise children in a world where coats were (almost) never necessary.

But I wouldn’t call it weather. Because it was boring. It never changed.

My friend told me she woke her husband up in the middle of the night recently. There was a thunderstorm in Los Angeles, a real honest-to-goodness thunderstorm with crashing thunder and blazing lightning and even some hail. She was so excited! It never rains in California (you know the old song); it certainly never thunderstorms!

So, call me crazy but I love living on the east coast. Even in the winter!

One of my friends asked me why I moved for the winter. I quickly clarified that I didn’t move for the winter; it was just how the timing worked out. But I’m not sorry about it. I like the cooler (we call it bracing) weather – I like the energy in the air, I like the smell of fires in fireplaces, the freshness of the snow, the ever-changing light and landscape. It’s all new and beautiful to me.

Just to confirm I’m not completely nuts, I acknowledge that the wind chill factor can be destroy a beautiful walk, that a snow storm or icy roads can make for treacherous driving, that waiting for the windshield to defrost and scraping the car windows in the morning isn’t all fun and games.

But I welcome the novelty and the change. The Torah suggests that before the Great Flood, the world had no seasons. It was similar to Los Angeles everywhere, all the time. But it didn’t work. The people lacked motivation. They were drawn into decadence and immorality. They were lethargic; they had no get up and go.

As a partial remedy to this, the Almighty created seasons. The world after the flood was very different from the one before. There was change. There was a time for everything (as King Solomon so wisely suggested and the Byrds so beautifully sang). There was always something new to appreciate, to be grateful for.

Different weather led to different moods and motivations, even different foods and clothing. It made life more interesting, it made our experiences more varied.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to appreciate the seasons anew. I’m grateful for the freshly fallen snow and the snap in the air. I’m enjoying the new scenery and topography – the rivers and lakes, the fir trees and even the bare trees, whose leaves have long since fallen off and been raked away.

I know there will still be those days – gray moments in the middle of February where the cold seems unceasing and Los Angeles (or Miami) beckon. But for now I’m enjoying the weather and reveling in the winter. I’m sorry it took a Flood (and all the behaviors leading up to it!) but I’m grateful for the four seasons – for the ever-changing colors of the leaves, for the newly blossoming flowers, for the freshly fallen snows, for the calm of the rivers and the roar of the Atlantic. I’ve been replanted myself and, like the generation after the Flood, I hope to make the most of my new world.

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