Friday, December 07, 2007

A Version of Winter

I feel like I've somehow slipped into the wrong season. Today, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the still-red leaves are sparkling on the tree-lined streets of our neighborhood--it's a perfect October day, warm enough for just a sweater if I decide to head out for a walk. The Northeast, meanwhile, has been pounded with snow, truly December-like; hats and gloves and scarves and boots are--I imagine--piled beside front doors, school delays are being hoped for, and lighted Christmas trees are framed in frosty windows.

Ah, the Northeast. I miss the winter. I miss walking through New York on cold December days, wearing my very silly fur-lined, ear-flapped hat, tucking my hair around my neck, beneath my scarf, for extra warmth. I miss the overabundance of radiator heat in my old Brooklyn apartment, which turned the rooms into cozy havens, warm protection from the icy wind outside. I miss seeing people toting armsful of shopping bags on the subway; the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center; the tourists crowded around the lighted windows on Fifth Avenue; the red-and-white awnings of the Union Square Christmas Market; the handsome Christmas tree sellers gathered mid-block or in corner lots, warming their hands around paper coffee cups. I even miss--to the extent that such a thing can be missed--the chaotic journey to JFK on the Long Island Rail Road, too-warm in a coat and overburned with heavy bags, trekking home.

Yet here I've said "Merry Christmas" to a Salvation Army Santa while wearing sunglasses and a short-sleeved shirt; houses have Christmas lights hanging from palm trees; and I don't see anyone walking anywhere, let alone with shopping bags or wintry fashions. This is not the same. It couldn't possibly be; I didn't expect it to be. But it is not the same.

We're making the best: tomorrow we're going to San Francisco overnight, to take in some city Christmas things--crowds and shop windows and trees, a good meal in a nice restaurant, perhaps even a bagel for breakfast. And we'll be headed Eastward in just two weeks.

The sun filling these rooms is, truly, wonderful. It's just the wrong time for it, that's all.

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