Me and My Shadow

Six more weeks of something.

By Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown

Did that blasted groundhog just say six more weeks of winter?! This very thing happened to me just yesterday. I came out from under my covers and saw my shadow—it must be five o’clock somewhere. Time for that hot toddy. Six weeks is long enough that I’ll be able to braid the hair on my legs into dreadlocks before winter is over. I’ll be just past the itchy stage of growing my hair out when it finally gets warm.

During the winter I basically turn into a groundhog. That is, I hibernate; no one ever sees me; and I’m a furry, medium-sized mammal that is most active in spring during the warmest part of the day, and…is particularly fond of apples. The groundhog is obviously my Gemini twin.

I cannot stand cold weather. When I’m cold, I’m grumpy. I don’t want to go do anything. I don’t want to see or talk to anybody, I don’t want to make plans to meet for Sunday brunch, I don’t want to get ready. In fact I don’t want to be aware of the cold in any way. I channel Marlene Dietrich—I just want to be left alone, and I become a danger to those around me who don’t, or won’t, heed my warnings to just leave the food at the bedroom door and let me watch TCM for the next two months.

I’ve tried many coping mechanisms to deal with the cold weather. I’ve tried to distract myself from the fact that it is a freezing 42 degrees outside by being productive and making a long “To Do” list of all the things that I will accomplish during my winter “retreat,” as I prefer to call it, but the only thing I have found that keeps me from being snappy, shooting menacing looks if you happen to speak to me, and giving the impression that I might have long, razor-sharp incisors just like my spirit animal, the groundhog, is a nice hot toddy.

I’m just drawn to warmth. I wrap myself up in my blankets and follow the sunlight around the house from room to room. If it’s a gloomy, overcast day it makes me sad. When I am forced to get out of the house I park in a sunny spot and sit in my car with the heat blasting for as long as possible. Heat is like my fuel and I can’t function without it. I literally feel paralyzed when I am cold. Every day that it’s cold feels as if I’m trapped in the same bad movie like…well, Groundhog Day. I don’t know how to escape the Winter Warlock. On particularly cold evenings when there is a fire in the fireplace I am literally frozen in front of it and nothing will draw me away from its warm embrace.

The really cruel part is that some days we will enjoy lovely, warm, 60+ degree temperatures. It lures me out from my cocoon, and I get so caught up in the promise of a warm spring day that I actually venture out into the world beyond my front door. So it’s particularly devastating when the next day it’s 20 degrees with a strong north wind. But, the cruelest joke of all are the days that start out mild and sunny and convince me to shed my winter clothing, throw on a short sleeved shirt and skip my heavy coat in favor of a light sweater, and then it turns into a bitter cold and windy day by lunch time and a winter weather storm by dinner. Events such as these leave me feeling shell shocked and unable to trust again. Which is why I’m letting my hair grow out on my legs so I can carry my own furry blanket around with me in an event like that. (Of course, this does nothing for your love life—unless he/she likes warm, furry mammals).

Thank goodness that spring is just around the corner with a string of warm mornings, days and nights when I can once again feel the gentle caress of the soft warm sun on my bare skin…after I shave off my winter coat.

When the temperatures begin to heat up it means that it’s time for me to reveal the smooth, beautiful summer legs I hope to rediscover when that moment arrives Speaking of which, it will be nice to feel the sun on my face again, too. Happy Spring!

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