I used to love cold weather, the way the air feels crisp in your lungs, and the way your breath produces a cloud because the thin air becomes saturated with moisture—it lets you know you really exist. I liked the bare trees that swayed with the wind, and how I could look across the woods and see all the way to Zeke’s street. I liked walking through the woods, not having to worry about insects or snakes or other nasty critters. I liked feeling secure under my thick sweatshirt and favorite blue Nike knit hat.
My friends, brother and I would pour onto the fields and basketball courts. Video games would be played, too, but when during the year were they not played? And when it snowed or iced, the beauty was only surpassed by our joy sledding and playing in it.
As kids, we drooled when the weatherman predicted snow. We’d watch The Weather Channel just to see the local weather report on the 8s, like we waited through the entire episode of Wild On in hopes of seeing Brooke Burke in a bikini. Waking up to “Prince William County Public Schools: closed” on the bottom of the TV screen was glorious. Twice in the ninth grade I walked up my long hill to the bus stop during a light snow shower only to be told thirty minutes later by somebody driving by that school was closed. Virginia’s Department of Transportation isn’t like Illinois’, as Mr. Obama has realized.
Things are different in the grown-up world. Walking to the Metro in my thin dress pants when it’s 12° isn’t pleasant. And snow, though still a wonderful sight, has become more of an inconvenience, making it harder and more dangerous getting to work which isn’t cancelled like school was. At 25 years old, sledding and playing “King of the Hill” are frowned upon.
I wore my favorite blue Nike knit hat so often that PingPongGirl used it to find me when we met at the dining hall, assuming (correctly) I'd be wearing it. I wore it at UVA football games where other students accused me of rooting for the Tar Heels, the same embarrassing fans who think you're supposed to cheer when the Cavaliers are on offense. I wore it to my hospital to make myself feel cooler than the other cancer people. I wore it to school to conceal that I was a cancer person, where Bubble said that I looked good in blue. I wore it on the plane ride to Minnesota where I would later receive my stem cell transplant, making sure the hat was snug before I stepped out in the land of the lakes, so many frozen lakes. My favorite blue hat was a Hanukah gift from my brother in the ninth grade. It's value exceeded its $15-25 price tag.
My blue hat has a hole, is discolored, and worn. It no longer keeps me as warm as it used to. Last year I nearly cried when I thought I lost it, or at least as close to crying as I've gotten barring the time I watched Tuesdays with Morrie. This will likely be its final winter as my primary head apparel. That is if I'm able to stow it in my drawer away from the cold.
There is construction going on in my hallway at work, so I was moved out of my own office and into a window-view cubicle. The natural light and view of the outside world make me smile. Being stuck in an office during what used to be my favorite season, as the world moves along at its normal pace, removes my grin.