I would be fine never seeing snow again.
Ideally, this will be the last snowy winter I experience until I’m at grad school in Norway or Madison. If I have my way I’ll be hopping from a couple cities in the southern hemisphere before I make it back home. Unfortunately, I was born a Minnesotan — winter is in my blood. There’s a sort of nostalgia I get every time I see snow. Growing up October became a reminder to enjoy the small things. Red and yellow leaves would be examined with wonder. November was truly the time to be thankful for the summer that came before. From December you endure. There is no sun, no protection. You feel the chill throughout your body at all times. It reminds you that at anytime you can be broken. It reminds you to hold out hope.
January has always been a terrible month for me. I think I used to enjoy the snow. Used to put on boots and sled. Used to ski with a fervor like a puffin taking off. My sophomore year of high school my two best friends started dating each other. I of course had the regrettable feeling loving them both, but being in love with one of them. Then in January one of them moved away. All the way to St. Louis. Looking at it now it’s a ridiculous distance, the same as Fukui to Tokyo. But back then, at sixteen, it was impassible.
In college, my friend knew January as my dark days. There were points I’d stop running, paint my nails black, hole up in an art room and listen to System of a Down. One winter I started back on World of Warcraft. Another I spent baking chocolate chip cookies. My junior year I decided to face the cold. I’d go for 90 minute runs at a time. I got injured and wound up even worse than before.
I absolutely hate the winter.
This past January felt particularly long. Soon I’ll be moving to Tokyo. I feel like until then I’ve just been living in limbo. I’ve been denied apartments for no reason (discrimination), I got a norovirus from raw oysters I didn’t want to eat, and my car was rear-ended to the extent that it’s essentially scrap. I try to listen to Gloria Gaynor to cheer me up, but it doesn’t seem to work. I hope you’re not taking this too seriously. Everyone keeps telling me it’ll be OK. I always know that. Even if I had to, I don’t think I’d know how to worry about myself. My problems are not the hardest to deal with, and I’m lucky enough that these are the extent of tough things I have to deal with.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge that winter is the worst. That I’m a fool for staying anywhere that gets below 10°C (50°F) on a good day in January. That snow is never quite as beautiful after the first night, when you’re living alone and have to drive an hour to work everyday.
In Minnesota Winter can last until May. January went on for forever, but already it’s the fifth of February. In Tokyo I don’t think it can last so long. Soon I’ll be running in shorts, I’ll be in the ocean, I’ll hike the Nippon Alps with my good friend Mac.
Until then I’ll endure. I’m a long distance runner after all. I’ll clean the rest of my empty apartment. I’ll say goodbye to anyone around. I’ll keep working out, and studying, and writing, like I said I would. If you happen to live in a terribly winter place like me, then you know what I mean. And if you’re in a particularly sunny place like California, then stay there. Stay there and never go anywhere else.
I do miss the little things, though.