Friday, November 19, 2010

Divorced from the weather

It came to me the other day that those of my kids who are still home have no real connection with the weather. To these kids, winter does not mean the smell of wet wool, rain does not mean getting wet.  Hats, mittens and scarves are fashion accessories and sandals are not reserved for summer. Whole categories of clothing are unknown to them: rain boots, rain coats, balaclavas. It gets different when the kids leave home, and have to fend for themselves, but for the kids still at home, that's how it is.

It's not that these kids are inactive. They do spend significant amounts of time outdoors, but it is on their own terms--they go skiing in specialized gear on a nice sunny day, they run when it is not raining and ride their bikes to school only when there is no ice on the road. They might ice skate but this is as likely to be done indoors as out, they might swim outdoors on a nice day.

Bad weather requires no engagement, not even a coat.  To the contrary, a coat is an inconvenience requiring a trip to a faraway locker, unnecessary for the dash from the car to the school door. Even getting in the car is not an issue, because the car is in an attached, covered garage.

I facilitate these choices for them.  But I don't choose this for myself.  Instead, I choose to muck around in the mud in rain boots, and get cold hands and a frosty nose.  Or, a tan so dark that people at parties ask when I got back from the tropics.  "I've just been out in the garden all summer" is not the answer they expect to hear, especially in the middle of mosquito season.

I do realize how incredibly lucky I am to be able to make this choice.  I clearly remember what it is to be soaked to the skin in a cold rain, the smell and weight of a sodden woolen coat, the rain jackets in the bathtub, the lost mittens a minor catastrophe. Actually, it is because I heed the voice of that long-ago cold wet unhappy little me that I drive those kids still at home, around everywhere.

Still, I think I've gone too far.  The kids are missing something, so divorced from the weather. They wonder why I choose to garden. I wonder why they don't.  I hope in the future, they will.

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