I can’t wait for winter to get here! By that I mean temperatures at or below freezing. Yes, really I do. So I thought I’d come up with a top-ten list of reasons I like winter. I wondered if it would be difficult to come up with ten things. It wasn’t. I came up with ten reasons as quickly as I could scribble a list with a few keywords for each one. Here we go:

1) When it’s warm and humid I feel tired and slightly ill. I don’t feel motivated to do anything because everything is an effort. My brain runs slowly. As soon as the temperature drops into the low 70’s or below, I feel energized and alive, brain and vision are sharp. The colder it gets the more energized I feel. And don’t suggest that I haven’t tried the “dry heat” of Arizona. Yes I have. I lived in the southern Nevada high desert for seven years, in Guatemala for five years, and Florida for three years. I know all the types of heat and I don’t like any of them.

2) I enjoy cooking and eating what I cook. When it’s warm or hot I have no appetite and certainly no desire to cook. I get through the day on one sandwich and a hard-boiled egg. It’s great for losing weight but I lose one of my favorite recreational activities: cooking. When autumn comes, I find my thoughts again wandering to food, recipes, stews, soups, baking, making bread, yumm!

3) Yes, springtime brings some nice smells of wildflowers and nice smelling trees, but the first thing I notice when winter thaws out is the return of the smells of all the molds and biological processes of nature. Every spring there will be that one day where I step outside and say, “Oh yeah. There’s that stink again.” Winter air is crisp, clean, and dry. There are no funny smells because there are no molds, spores, no flying insects, no fleas or other vermin, no rotting garbage because everything is frozen dead, dead, dead. I do miss the songbirds singing but there are always crows who are undaunted by the cold and continue to squawk and argue with each other in the winter silence.

4) I work with paper quite a lot and I like to write, and in winter the air is dry and paper feels and acts like paper should and not like a damp dishrag as it does in the summertime. My fountain pens write much nicer in winter than they do in summer when paper is limp and full of humidity. My laser printer is also much happier and feeds paper better in the winter.

5) In winter I enjoy feeling clean after a shower and becoming completely dry afterwards so that clothes slide on smooth as glass. In summer, one steps out of the shower and never becomes completely dry because the humidity prevents complete drying and sweating resumes immediately after showering. Clothing feels sticky and drags on the skin when compared to the smoothness of winter.

6) I live in a college town and on Frat House Row. My street should be renamed Animal House Street. When winter comes, the yelling, screaming, partying, 3 AM lover’s quarrels in the middle of the street, and crazy driving stops. Traffic drops way down. Everyone is huddled in their homes, hopefully doing their schoolwork, and I can go take a peaceful walk on the crunching snow in peaceful silence.

7) Nobody likes winter here where I live in West Virginia–nobody. I bring it up all the time with people I meet and everyone I’ve met here says they hate it with a passion. I did meet one single soul here who said she likes the idea of snow but hates the cold. Fine, then why do I like winter? Because you don’t! Yes, I’m a cranky old contrary curmudgeon.

8) My cat is like me and is much happier and active when it’s cold. During the summer she is lethargic, uncomfortable, sometimes sitting forlornly with her mouth open and tongue hanging out with a look on her face that says “Make it stop, please!” On those rare summer nights that cool off, she sits jammed up against the window screen, straining to encounter the cooler air.

9) I like to wear clothes, not fancy clothes, just clothes. Sitting wearing nothing but my undershorts is not my idea of comfort but when the temperature goes above 85F with humidity of 50 percent, undershorts is all I can bear to wear.

10) Crawling into a clean cold bed at bedtime and warming it up is one of the finest pleasures known to man.

11) Ice and snow are beautiful things with endless variation in their form and appearance and they evolve from moment to moment, melting, freezing, growing, shrinking, always changing shape. Each day of deep winter I am greeted with a landscape that looks completely different from the day before. The decorative icicles change on a daily basis. Yes, I hate slipping on an icy sidewalk but it’s a price I’m willing to pay and another reason I like lots of snowshowers because snow provides good traction and prevents slipping on the ice below.

12) The holidays! There’s no need to explain the joy of the foods, decorations, music, spirit, and fun of the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year are the most special times of year and they all come in the WINTER!

Oops, that’s twelve. Oh well.