Sunday, February 23, 2014

"Long winter"

Here in the (relatively) small corner of the world where people are pointing at the thermometer and yelling "Al Gore is so fat!", I keep hearing people say that this has been a "really long winter."

I don't get it. In what sense is it long? I know I am one of the very few people who loves winter. I love the cold, the snow, the darkness, etc., all that stuff that other people hate. Meanwhile, I spend much of the year dreading summer, which seems to be the time of year that just about everyone else likes for some bizarre reason. I'm an outlier. I get it. And that's okay. The world is a more interesting place because people like differing things. In my head I can kind of understand that other people like what I hate and hate what I like.

So I get that other people would hate the winter we have been having here in the mid-Atlantic this year. Even so, the "long" thing doesn't make any sense. You can say the winter has been "bad," "harsh," or whatever label the you, as a member of that misguided winter-hating majority, might slap on it. I can accept that. But not "long." Long is ridiculous. It's February, a month that is indisputably supposed to be a winter month here in the Northern Hemisphere. Hell, I heard people start saying stuff like that in January, when winter was not even one month old. How could an entire season be long after just one month? Don't they know what a season is?

Anyway, this got me thinking about how long the "long winter" crowd thinks winter is supposed to be. From what I can tell, they (if I can generalize "them" into a "they") think that winter should be exactly five days long. It begins with the winter solstice on December 21st (with any snow or freezing temperatures before that triggering the "winter already?!?!?" response), and then should politely end with Christmas Day. Beginning December 26th, any flakes in the air becomes an outrage.

Officially, Spring doesn't begin until March 20, 2014. As far as I am concerned, any winter weather before that date does not mean that the winter has extended beyond its normal length. In fact, it's not all that unusual for there to be a late March freeze or even snowfall in these parts. This winter has already been a lot of things. But one thing it has not been, at least not yet, is long.