Winter is my favorite season, followed by autumn, when the days get short and the darkness takes over. This year Chicago got a white Christmas with inches of snow falling on Christmas night. It must have been beautiful.
But I wouldn't know because I spent Christmas Day in Florida. I left cold, picturesque Midwest for a sunny climate on Christmas Day. Of course, everyone I talked to about it envied me. Yes, I got clear skies and warm breezes for a few days, but I didn't want a break from below-freezing temperatures. People find this hard to believe. They think that if I live in Chicago, I must be delighted to escape the chill. Maybe this is what I should say to them:
Imagine a child who grows up in a bright and sunny part of the world. Their years growing up are spent in brightness and warmth, but also under extreme duress. The child has experiences that cause it to associate bright sunlight with pain and emotional isolation. Eventually the child grows up and moves away from this warm climate, finding comfort in a darker, colder part of the world that feels peaceful and safe.
Once these associations are in place -- sunshine and pain, darkness and comfort -- this person grows into an adult who avoids direct sunlight and relishes cloudy days and chilly temperatures. Yes, it's completely irrational and against human nature. It's inexplicable in any terms other than those of trauma and the way the mind makes connections.
Imagine such a person and you might begin to believe me when I say that I love gray winter days and nights that begin at 4 p.m. If you can really get your mind around it, you might even believe me when I say that I intensely dislike sunny climates, preferring the cold and darkness that cover my home in the Midwest, where I feel safe. This is where I want to be.