If you know me, than you know that I am a person of seasons, and that winter is not one of them.
Perhaps, if I were anywhere other than the southeastern United States, where winter means little more than a collection of short, gray days, I could find some appreciation for nature’s most somber season.
I am sure the citizens of Aspen and Telluride, CO enjoy many a fireside chats in the ski lodge, but winter in South Carolina is something less than a wonderland, it is gray, damp, and encumbered by clumps of dead foliage and a skyline of leafless trees.
In Greek mythology, Demeter, the Goddess of agriculture, lost her daughter to the underworld for six months each year. During the six months that Demeter was without her daughter, she would allow the world to die, but when her daughter was returned to her for the other half of the year, she would reward the earth with growth and the seasons of spring and summer would follow.
Here in the Upstate of South Carolina, we are rarely offered any weather that is synonymous with the perception of winter, and snow, almost never lays its blankets upon us, we are left with the dreary, the rain, and its cold but not cold enough to snow weather.
And in spite of the preceding lines and what you may think, I am an optimist.
And now that the holidays are behind us and the New Year is off and running, my mind has begun the countdown to the sunshine and all of its familiar attributes, long days, humidity, pool side conversation, shorts, sandals, and an afternoon on the Isle of Palms.
It may be early January, but my thoughts are on the warmer months.
I know that pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in late February, and I know that the short stretches of better weather in March and April will give way to the extended versions in May, June, and July.
I know that a South Carolina winter can be short, and I know the spring days that follow will remind us that the best is yet to come until the summer makes it so and a community’s union is restored.
In a summer community, laughter from the city pool and “pings” from the baseball diamond can be heard from blocks away while a steady hum of lawn mowers stifles out the rest.
In a summer community, the eyes of the collective keep watch on the scurrying of neighborhood children well into the evening, well beyond the reach of their mother’s voices, well beyond the warm glow of the porch light, and long after the winter sun would have left them.