Futurecast

I wore my long winter coat this weekend. Not the heavy-duty one, but the medium weight, good-for-when-it-gets-below-50F-degrees-coat. And a warm hat. And gloves.

Book of SnowflakesIt’s only the beginning of October, but I’m already pulling out my sweaters and sweatpants, fleece vests and scarves, wool trousers and skirts, as the temperature sinks. This is always the time of year when I feel a bit self-conscious about bundling up while my neighbors are still walking around outside in windbreakers. But I’d rather be warm and keep my hands from turning purple and numb.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac website (is it just me, or does that sound like an oxymoron?), this winter in New England will be “much colder than normal, with near-normal precipitation and below-normal snowfall.” Looks like we’re in for a bit of snow before the calendar year is over, then just a lot of frigid temperatures until mid-March.

That is, if you believe the Almanac’s predictions. They claim 80 percent accuracy.

We were discussing this with family and friends at Al’s cousin’s home over the weekend. Those who commute by car and park on city streets were rooting for the Almanac—less to shovel sounded pretty good after last winter’s snow emergencies. For me, however, the words “much colder than normal” are more forbidding than snow storms (until the snow piles so high there’s nowhere to put it).

My winter weather trepidations are tempered by living in a landscape so romanticized by Currier and Ives. New snow is beautiful. It’s clean and sparkly and magical. I always enjoy the mystery of the first snowfall of the season, how it transforms trees into spun sugar.

Nonetheless, snow, by definition, means the temperature is below freezing, and my body just doesn’t adjust easily to the shift. We’re not there, yet, but as I walked Ginger, our 16-year-old golden, around the block on a sunny, crisp fall afternoon this Sunday, I could feel the season’s change in the wind.

Was it still, technically, summer just about a month ago? I have more digital ulcers, more bandages. I’ve turned on the heat pumps to warm the first floor of our home while I write in my small office, just off the living room. I’m wearing long sleeves and a warm cardigan.

Snow or no snow, the idea of “much colder than normal” sends shivers throughout my body. Nothing to do but make sure I have enough layers and brace for whatever winter weather lies ahead. At least we still have the best of the fall foliage to enjoy for the next couple of weeks.

Would I ever move to a warmer climate? I don’t know. I love my home, my community. Much as I struggle with the temperature shift each fall (spring brings its own unique challenges, too), I love all four seasons here.

So, pile on the sweaters and boil up the oatmeal. Colder weather? Bring it on.

Image Credit: Illustrative plates from Snowflakes: a Chapter from the Book of Nature (1863), a collection of poems, extracts, anecdotes and reflections on the theme of snow and the snowflake.  See more: http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/illustrations-of-snowflakes-1863/.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

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