Denver-Envy: Where’s My Winter?

moresnow.jpgA Mid-Atlantic resident virtually all of my life, I can’t quite just dial-up delivery of a white Christmas, but is it too much to ask that it be cool enough on Christmas Eve so as to mandate riding to mom’s with my Jeep Wrangler top up? I haven’t heard yet where this December ranks among the warmest in Washington history, but I’m pretty sure I don’t need to. It’s simply unacceptable. If I want windbreakers and Bermuda shorts on Christmas, I’ll move to the Carolinas.
Meanwhile, to listen to the cable news talking heads these days, all is woe for the hearty residents of Denver, CO. They’ve had to shovel lots of snow this month. Two doozies of snowstorms, fairly close together, have hit them. Imagine living in or near the Rocky Mountains and having to shovel snow!
This is not a treatise on global warming-vs.-cyclical warming and cooling periods. I have an opinion on the matter, but all that’s germane here is that I’m miserable and there’s nothing Alexander Ovechkin can do about it, much less Bob Ryan.
You see, it’s important in winter to have winter. When we don’t, it seems to me, we’re doubly reminded that “Washington isn’t a hockey town.” But for me there’s additional angst: I suffer from acute seasonal affective disorder — just not the kind commonly alluded to. I actually get grumpy when the mercury reaches 40 any time in December. And when the television weatherwrongs and their anchor colleagues gloat and cackle over our Haiti-like holidays, I actually wanna sock ‘em in the jaw.
Why are they gleeful over aberational conditions? Are they anti-sledding? Anti-shinny? Don’t they know that it’s scientifically established fact that ice skating dates featuring hand holding and foot rubbing are 47 times more romantic than movie theater outings? Don’t they know that Washington is genuinely one of the most beautiful cities on the planet under a fresh blanket of snow?
By now you know that the Caps practiced outdoors here recently. The wonder is that they didn’t drown.


dcinsnow.jpgIt wasn’t always this way here, you know. Time was, in my early youth, when hard freeezes often set in solidly before December; you go back to the 1970s in these parts and you can recover accounts of folks skating the C&O Canal not long after Thanksgiving — once in a while, even before. A native Washingtonian, I was raised to appreciate the change in seasons. Now, though, I’m not noticing much change. We seem to transition merely from temperate to scalding hot.
And it’s that trial of Washington in late June, July, and August that makes this Danielle Briere winter all the more maddening to me. I walk most days to my neighborhood Metro station, a jaunt of nearly 30 minutes, and in our oven summers I try and depart before the sun rises to scorch our skin. As I walk, praying for aiding breeze (that hardly ever comes), I preoccupy my thoughts with images of an Ice Age in D.C. I actually delight in the fact that on my August walks to work I’m literally the only Washingtonian deep in thought about Zambonis and ice rink warming rooms and whether the summer’s softer ice of my Northern Virginia beer league means I should adjust the hollow on my blades from 5/16 to 3/8 of an inch.
It’s not that I don’t like Ocean City in the summer — I quite do — it’s just that to get through summer here in the city I often have to think about the Rimouski Oceanic. If there is reincarnation, I want to come back as Mr. Freeze.
This will definitely come as news to our newsmen and women in town, but cold hard freezes — even prolonged ones — are actually good for nature and good for the human beings living in them. Freezes kill molds and bacteria, and Washington ranks among the worst of allergy regions. As our winters have Carolina-ed area allergists have made a killing. But in defending winter, I’ve long made an even more basic argument: in deep chill one can always add layers and bring aid to one’s discomfort, but in our Code Red malaise, who wants to snuggle?
I guess what has me so upset is that more folks around here aren’t upset like me. I’ll tell you how bad it’s gotten for me: in my mother’s home on Christmas I logged on to her computer, went to Yahoo’s home page and of course was instantly confronted by the worrisome weather data for D.C. So I switched the locale for my Yahoo page, seeking an injection of vicarious winter at Christmas. I chose Winnipeg.
It was a balmy 17 degrees there then.

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8 Responses to Denver-Envy: Where’s My Winter?

  1. GoBucks9 says:

    Oh my god yes! Its not winter when I can walk my dog at night in a tee shirt.
    2002/3@Ohio State – we got a huge snow storm – so bad they cancelled classes for the first time in over 30 years due to weather. Students held a 3000 person snowball fight in the Oval.
    2003/4@OSU – My friend & I attempted to build an outdoor rink on his Grandpa’s farm not far from campus. We were unsuccessful in building one but in a few days we skated on the river for about a month. Our grades suffered greatly.
    2004/5 – No shinny, alittle snow. We took our skating indoors to the OSU Ice Rink.
    2005/6 – Snowed only 2inches before winter break and never again.
    Its all downhill.

  2. sonia says:

    i met a family from quebec the day after christmas and they said this was the first time they could recall ever not having snow for the holidays. in quebec.

  3. Meza says:

    My wife said it wasn’t Christmas without snow. She grew up in Ohio and had snow every winter. I to miss the snow fights with my daughter and watching her eat the snow.

  4. OrderedChaos says:

    “Dude, Where’s My Winter?”
    I agree 100%. It’s not just DC; most of the country & world is warming. But to have 50-degree weather on NYE is just unsettling. Give me a good snowfall — not a DC slush-ice mess, but REAL SNOW!

  5. odessasteps says:

    I was so disappointed last year, when I went on a hockey vacation to Canada and it was so warm (40+) in Calgary and Edmonton that I didn’t get to wear the winter coat I bought for the trip.
    IF you think DC is bad, it’s even worse down here in VABeach. It’s been in the 50s and 60s the last two weeks — shorts weather!

  6. pepper says:

    I won’t use this forum to provide tips for all of us to minimize our contribution to global warming, but will just add my .02 to “misery loves company.”
    Here in NYC its pretty much the same – a bit cooler but nonetheless unseasonably balmy. No snow anywhere in sight – just a number of cool, wet, foggy days.
    I actually spent part of Christmas week 2004 in Winnipeg. It was fantastic. I watched a Moose game, snow was everywhere on the ground and still falling in flurries, and the cold winds froze my nostrils in seconds.
    For those missing a real winter, take a trip to the ‘Peg, check out the windiest city intersection in Canada (Portage and Main), and stay at the Hotel Fort Garry. Great historic building well-worn in a charming way.
    Damn I wish there was still NHL hockey there, and thus a Caps road trip . . .

  7. Donald says:

    I WANT WINTER TOO!!! i couldnt get into the christmas spirit this year cuz of this friggin warm winter. i lived in denver for 3 years before moving back to MD, and man i miss it now.

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