I am both older and colder in winter. I can at long last understand why so many retired people leave the environs of New York City for Florida during the winter months and, in many cases, for one and all seasons. I, too, can now envision living in warmer climes all year round, although I doubt I ever will. Once upon a time when youthful exuberance careened through my veins, snow had mass appeal to me. Sometimes it caused the schools to close, which was always welcome. Playing tackle football courtesy of a blanket of snow on the concrete, which we couldn’t do in the summertime, was quite fun. And watching the snow fly in real time was a real treat as well. I will admit that I still appreciate the beauty of a snow event, but concerns of what my life will very soon be like—with all the ensuing hardships—tarnish the pretty picture pretty fast. They quickly drown out the peaceful evocation of Tony Bennett singing “Snowfall.”
Honestly, I could never have conceived as a boy that I wouldn’t welcome—with open arms and Christmas-like anticipation—a blizzard. Compared to the past couple of decades, big snowfalls were pretty rare when I was a kid on the streets of the Bronx. When they did occur, the spectacles always brought friends and neighbors together. People of all ages—often multiple generations of families—were out shoveling and frolicking in the Winter Wonderland. There’s still some of that fraternity found in a snow's wake, but a whole lot less of it.
If nothing else, bad winters—and this one was the coldest in my living memory—make one really pine for and appreciate spring when it does arrive. As I write these words, it's cold outside—some fifteen degrees below normal in the mid-thirties. But still, it feels like spring and looks like spring with only specks of "onion snow" remaining on the ground and some larger piles of the white stuff—although they are not so white anymore—scattered about. These remnants of the multiple snows of this past winter in building and business parking lots stand as testaments to what was and what soon will be only a memory.
If I could turn the clock back thirty-five or so years, I’d have stickball on my brain right now. I'd be prepping to play that very first game, which we often did at the end of March. It tended to be chilly at “play ball” time, but if the sun shined, we took to our game with joy and a celebratory feel that another long winter had come to pass. Although we liked winter—actually, snow in winter—it was always good to see it go. Spring, stickball, and baseball season—“Let’s go Mets”—had the legs that ushered us into summer, summer vacation, and the things we did during that hot time. All these years later, I’ll settle for some warmer temperatures, a little green, and longer days. Granted, it’s not nearly as exciting as those youthful advents of spring were, but it’ll have to do.