This mild winter has been exactly the kind of winter I was hoping for when I first moved to Baltimore. I don't hate winter, but I hate the length of it. I'm just fine with three weeks of cold and snow and then off to spring. I figured that's what Maryland winters would give me.
However, I've only gotten this type of winter once; that was my first winter here, the winter of 2001. That winter featured just one snow that didn't stick, and that was it. Most of the time, it was around 40 or 50 degrees. I was in 7th heaven. The year after, though, was more severe than any Michigan winter I've ever had, with three feet of snow and a week off from school. In 2003, the winter was ushered in with a hurricane (we certainly don't get freakish weather like that in Michigan) and a ton more snow. Last winter was middling for the most part, but terrible because it lasted so long into the spring. This winter has been perfect. Enough snow in December for a snow day, but a slow and steady climb into spring and higher temperatures since the new year has come.
While a part of me wouldn't mind the excitement of a big snow and some snow days before the official end of the winter, the practical part of me knows that these balmy temperatures are for the best for the baseball team. We might actually be able to get on the field starting March 1, rather than spending three weeks on the tennis courts at the start of baseball season. That would be awesome.
And the heating bills aren't breaking my bank this year. It's actually been an affordable winter.
Anyhow, I found this photo online tonight, and it reminded me of why I left Michigan. This beautiful shot of the pier and lighthouse in my hometown of South Haven, MI (population: 10,000 in winter; up to 100,000 in summer for beach season) is how I remember my childhood winters. Snow, ice, and wind for months and months on end. Give me a change in seasons, but make it brief. And while the photo reminds me why I left, it also reminds me what I miss about my hometown: the beach, cruising with my parents in the boat, walking with my dog up the pier.
By the way, the railing on the top is so people can still run and light the lighthouse when the ice is too thick on the pier. Pretty cool, I think. One of the biggest issues of my adolescence in the town was whether to tear down or renovate that little walkway up to the pier. Most piers don't have those anymore, instead preferring to just brave the ice with picks to go light the lighthouse.
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