As I sit in my bed, casually reclining on fluffed pillows, I sip hot strawberry green tea and watch the snow outside my window. I’m not bemoaning the prolonging of winter, I’m not pouting at the loss of sun, and I’m not throwing a hissy fit because summer’s not here yet.
Winter is my joy, my comfort, and my salvation. Summer is my oubliette.
If you think that’s backwards, then this post was meant for you.
Most Americans forever love summer. They worship it, enjoy it, and revel in it. While it makes me highly uncomfortable for months out of the year, I spend those months yearning for the cold bite of winter.
Yet, winter isn’t my complete solace. I must share it with most Americans who cry over their absent summer sun. When I walk into a public room (i.e., a dental office, workplace, or store), I walk into pits of utter despair and hopelessness.
My enjoyment of frosty windows is eclipsed by the pleadings for the golden rays of summer sun. When I expound on the positivities of winter, I get looks of disgust and scorn. Suddenly, I become the embodiment of winter they hate so much.
I’m not the only one who’s encountered this phenomenon. Others who love winter as much as I do have suffered the tragic fate of social pro-summer hatred.
This post is not asking for summer worshipers to quit their childish whining. It’s a plea for perspective, perhaps sympathy, as for why some fellow Americans and I love winter and hate summer.
I understand people love summer because they can run outdoors, have richly wafted BBQ’s, and cool dips in the pool. When I was younger, I used to understand their enjoyment. I played softball in scorching heat without worry or bother. Summer provided other things to do than sit in a quiet corner and read.
Now that I’m older, my perspective and body has changed.
I’m not as active nor do I want to be. My joy is no longer an active pastime, it’s pleasantly passive. I love reading and writing in quiet spaces among smells of musty pages and warn leather covers. A warm cup of tea, or a cup of hot chocolate, helps my thought processes to coalesce in a series of riveting prose that grace page after page of white printer paper. All this is best done in the alluring quietness of winter.
It’s hard to create works of literary art or to convey brilliant literary criticism when children are screaming outside and working mischief on your front porch. Instead of wondrous inspirational ideas, I get a headache listening to the constant droning of lawnmowers from dawn to dusk. My creativity is drowned out by summer hijinks.
Yet, snotty children and manic lawn mowing neighbors are minor summer annoyances compared to my massive problem with summer.
On my twenty-fourth year, my arms constantly itched and I noticed I developed a rash. It was curious since I never came in contact with poison ivy and I never had an allergic reaction to any material that interacted with my arm.
The development stumped my doctor too.
The rash continued once a year for three years and always during summer. I visited my doctor on each occasion and he prescribed ointments and pills. Nothing seemed to work.
The third year, I was examined by a visiting doctor from India. He took one look at my arm and immediately knew what was wrong. “You’re allergic to the sun,” he casually said.
“Huh?” I replied. It’s not a diagnosis a person expects to hear. Although I imagine most diagnosis aren’t expected by patients.
“Make sure to completely cover up and wear lots of sun screen,” sang the doctor as he waltzed out the door.
Thus began my hatred of summer.
On good days, I cover up when I’m outside, which is only for a few minutes while I’m walking from my car to a building, and I don’t itch at all.
On regular days, even when completely covered, I have to be outdoors for at least thirty minutes and I itch. I apply ointment and wrap my arms to keep the ointment on the infected area. Then I walk around for two days with mummified arms. Most people who see my bandaged arms think I severely burned myself.
On bad days, I have to be out in the sun for prolonged hours. I itch and I get hot and cold flashes at night while attempting to sleep. It feels like a fever without the high temperature, sweats, and aches.
The sun during winter doesn’t affect me. It’s low intensity allows me to walk uncovered without itching. Although I still cover up in forty degree and blow temperatures.
When I tell others of my affliction (mostly sun worshipers), they view me strangely. Some doubt that sun allergy is a real diagnosis.
It’s an affliction that affects twenty percent of the world’s population.
While it’s not common, there’s no reason to deny it’s existence nor think a person is lying about having the allergy.
I often wonder why people might disbelieve my claims. Perhaps they’re so in love with that golden orb in the sky it’s hard for them to believe other’s don’t love it. Maybe they’re selfish beings when it comes to their summer obsession. They really mean to be more sympathetic yet can’t because they’re “suffering” the doldrums of winter.
Reasons aren’t important, yet it’s the tolerance of others that matter. I admit that I should practice this too.
Instead of reacting negatively to someone’s declared love of winter, ask why they love winter. While listening to them, you might find there are things you like about winter too. In the future, I will refrain from anger upon hearing a sun worshipers winter whining. I’ll satisfy myself with the knowledge that I’ll look far younger than my age while the sun worshipers will have leathery skin and age disgracefully.