Eulogy to winter
It gave us many things: an excuse to stay inside, a reason to sleep in, an answer to why a few pounds may have settled around our midriffs. “Because it’s winter and it’s cold outside. Shorter days mean longer nights and more sleep in the first place. Gaining fat in preparation for hibernating during the winter is a vestigial evolutionary trait from a distant mammalian ancestor…” we were able to answer in chorus.
Winter is gone and I doubt that many of us have given winter the proper recognition and respect it deserves. Although I know that such a long, cold and dark season meant so much to so many, and that my words are probably inadequate to capture its unique meaning for you, I hope you can appreciate a few general highlights about some of the season’s general virtues.
How the bitterly cold wind that caused you to lose feeling in the tips of your ears and fingers encouraged you to partake in an international exchange of cold weather hats from other cultures such as Peruvian influenced chullos and Russian styled ushankas.
How the cold and damp that prevailed during the season (and caused you to be stuck in the cough-cold-flu cycle for a good two to three months) has drastically strengthened your immune system and provided you with future immunity, at least for a few months before new strains evolve.
How ice and subzero temperatures not only gave you ample justification to wear sweatpants and comfortable, albeit slightly hideous, snow boots for weeks on end; but also, to guzzle delicious calorie-laden hot drinks like mugs of hot chocolate brimming with at least half a dozen snowman-shaped vanilla marshmallows.
But alas, no longer. Winter quietly slipped away during the past weeks, but it has continued to pass on at least one legacy, the spirit of academic excellence and achievement that causes our backs to hunch from overstuffed book bags, wrists to ache from thousands of words typed for papers and eyes to water from hours spent reading scholarly texts into the wee hours of the morning.
I think winter would want us to remember that even though spring is awakening around us, to not be fooled by the warm sunshine, bright blue sky and crisp green grass that beckons us to frolic outside. Spring may give us just as many reasons to stay inside and work as winter did. Yet I think it would want us to be comforted (at least a little) by the fact that our occasional 2 a.m. trudge from Olin Library can now be accompanied by the cheerful chatter of songbirds.
Kemi is a freshman in Arts & Sciences. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].