A month ago, the weather was unseasonably warm - 40s Fahrenheit - and we still had green grass. We wondered if we would have snow on the ground for Halloween, as we usually do. It didn't look likely.
Tonight I went out to watch the phenomenally multi-talented Andrew Bird (the recordings do not do him or his abilities justice - I suggest you seek him out live). It was zero degrees, but the wind chill dragged the "feel" of the air down to -22. An angry -22 at that, with claws and teeth and possibly rabies. The roads are paved in ice and the snow is several feet deep along the roads and over the lawn. The grass may still be green underneath, stunned but not yet killed by the quick descent of winter.
We had snow on Halloween, by the way.
The sun rises just after nine, but doesn't break clear of the mountains until about nine-thirty. It sets before four-thirty in the afternoon. When the clouds allow it at all. I go to work in the dark. I come home in the dark.
These conditions are perfect for mental hibernation.
Instead I find myself strangely energetic. I laid down ten thousand words on a new story last week, and am on pace for roughly the same this week. It will be slightly slower going as I have to wreck a car today or tomorrow, and I tend to write high-velocity scenes quite slowly. I think what I'm experiencing is an absolute need to protect myself from these harsh conditions by escaping somewhere warmer, brighter, faster and more explosive. I used to achieve this by reading, curling up for hours or days with book after book. Now, while my to-be-read pile slash list is large and attractive, I can find the same refuge in my own work. And I have the added advantage of getting to exercise my brain.
This is not to say that I'm not dreaming of beaches and staring longingly at the grayscape world, pining for spring.
What is your winter like? Is it a season or a feeling? How do you escape?