Night comes faster. Especially if you sleep in. Winter this year, they say, is colder than it's been in recent years. In New York, it's been slushy and wet during the brief sunny hours, and slippery and cold at night. The weather is best when the wind is not blowing.
Is it the poet in me that loves to talk about the weather? There is a country song from my childhood, well, part of the chorus of one, which I sing to myself sometimes "As long as old men sit and talk about the weather / as long as old women sit and talk about old men" (... the point of the song being that for as long as these things happen, the country singer will "love you forever and ever and ever and ever amen." Classic.) And I often think that the old men got the better part of the deal, here. Maybe if I watched television, I would talk about that. I'd rather sit out a good lightning storm, especially just prior to those in the summer when the heat is bursting and no amount of fanning can keep you cool: then it breaks, the breeze picks up, thunder rumbles like angels are bowling and the light show is on. I offered at work the other day in the morning to "greet", which I had never done before, in order that I could be near the big front windows to watch the first real snow coming down, inside and giddy warm at work like a snowglobe as the winds tore the heavy flakes back and forth.
I won't get out of bed in the morning until the radio tells me the temperature outside. Autumn is my favorite season. August is my favorite month. I was once blown backwards at the intersection of Boylston St. and Tremont St. in Boston, MA. I haven't had a white Christmas since I was a kid, and sometimes I think I am inventing that memory.
A memory I am, for certain, not inventing: on the first (or second, I'm not sure) ever of what became an annual Christmas party thrown by my friend Ian Carlos, a group of us, eighth and ninth graders, gathered in the basement of his house to drink soda and exchange cards and watch movies. His mother called us up from the stairs because Santa Claus was riding by on a firetruck handing out candy canes. We knew as well as she did that we were too old to really get giddy from Santa, but maybe it was the candy she knew we would want. Not all of us, but enough of us trudged up the basement stairs and outside into the beginning of a flurry. The firetruck came down the street, lights flashing the snowflakes red and yellow and brighter white than the streetlights could manage to paint. I don't remember standing in awe, but I do remember being filled with something I couldn't explain, that the truck or the snow couldn't have possibly done themselves.
Every year at Ian's party I think of this time, this moment before I reached my hand to Santa's, gloved in white, handing me a candy cane. I think of how everything stood still and swirling at the same time and seemed perfect in that moment. If I could make my own snowglobe, the world's tourist merchandise version of a trapped moment in time, a trapped place and picture, it would be Ian and I in the snow surrounded by those flashing lights, holding our candy, grinning like no one could ever understand why.