The Christmas season is over and I often feel sad during the first few days of January, but this year I don't. It's possible that coming down with bronchitis during the long Thanksgiving weekend and then taking weeks to recover from the resulting pneumonia had an effect on my Christmas spirit. I notice that because the holidays didn't grab as much of my attention, their departure doesn't feel like as big a loss as it has other years.
I'm also more grateful than ever for Chicago's cold weather. Now that I have to walk a dog most days of the week, I've become even more sensitive to the negative effects of sunlight and heat. I dread summer, when going outdoors causes me a sun rash (different from a burn). Walking our new dog last September, and during that warm October, was a big, uncomfortable drag. But when the days get short and the sun recedes from the northern hemisphere and the temperatures drop, walking outside becomes much more comfortable for me.
I also like how much quieter the city is when the air is frigid. Not only does crime go down when temperatures drop, but far fewer idiots hold their arguments outside at 2:00 a.m. in February than in July. People close their windows, hold their parties indoors and do a lot less standing around outside, talking and shouting. Winter is my reprieve from the general city noise of people who refuse to go inside and be quiet unless it's colder than 40 degrees F.
Winter is quieter and darker in Chicago than it can ever even approach in my home state of California. That's why I moved here 18 years ago. I love Midwestern winter.
It's not hard to let go of the sparkling celebration of the winter holidays for me. Sure the big party is over, but at least I have four or five months ahead of me before the heat comes back. Ahhhh, winter. My favorite.