I just returned from a family vacation to Disneyland. Sigh. I am now in the process of returning to a state of normalcy, so I am taking the liberty of re-posting something I wrote for my family blog a few years ago... Now that I'm back to winter in Utah, it seems appropriate:
The problem with winter is it's cold. And dark. It snows. Your skin gets dry and cracks around your knuckles. Hair darkens. Skin pales.
The problem with winter is you're not on the open road, driving home from a summer vacation. Winter can't produce a memory as palpable as this: suntanned bare feet on the dashboard, Good 'n Plenty and lukewarm Lemon Propel rattling in the console, singing along out loud to James Taylor or Counting Crows or Tom Petty. You gaze out of the insect-splattered windshield while I make tiny Xs over the mosquito bites on my legs. My body is exhausted, but in that good, worn, tired way that only comes from a day spent in the water. There is an irritating tightness on my shoulders from sunburn and the slight indentation of swimsuit straps. The landscape is mountainous and arid and empty, the sky impossibly high and open, and we fill the time with idle games of 20 Questions and I'm Going to Grandmother's House. We've forgotten what the N item on our list is, but are certain of Mongoose and Lima Beans.
We stop at a convenience store as the sky bruises into a purplish darkness. The air smells of gasoline and fried food and is just cool enough to raise goosebumps on bare arms and legs. Our flip-flops smack against the blacktop and make dirty half moons on the store's just mopped tile. Ice cubes thunk and clunk into 64 oz plastic cups and the refrigerated cases buzz and the till bings open and shut. The sounds are familiar and oddly comforting. Restrooms are bravely visited, snacks are selected, and then florescent lights are replaced with headlights on the highway.
We are quiet in the car now, the yellow and white lines of the road in stark contrast to our wandering, scattered, patternless thoughts.
That's the problem with winter: you're not on the open road, driving home from summer vacation, the freedom of your undecided life ahead tempered by the safety of the straight, even road vanishing into the darkening horizon.