As the winter deepens, as the cold chills to the bone, as the wind bites the exposed skin, as the sky drops measures of snow, sleet, and ice, and as gray clouds block the sun day after day, I pause to remind myself how much I love Indiana. The newness and beauty of the first snow has disappeared into memory, and the glow of the holidays is in the past. In unending grayness with just a stab of sun every now and then, I think back to the heat of the summer and how I whined about sticky, humid days.
Now, I long for those hot, muggy days when, in a few minutes outside, a blanket of warm and humid air settled over me. Those days when the heat built up in my home without air conditioning and no breeze ventured through the window screens. Those days when I watered my porch flowers constantly to keep them bright and happy.
As winter drags on, I leaf through my yearly seed catalogs which always arrive just after the first of the year – just in time to lift my spirits and set my mind to dreaming about the first of many garden treasures to come. The early strong stems of green onions, the beauty of frilly, colorful lettuce, and round heads of cabbage. And later, fresh, glowing red tomatoes hanging from vines, long, thin green beans dancing on the bushes, and green pepper globes huddled in bunches on sturdy stalks.
Abiding bitter Indiana winters is just a matter of knowing that eventually they do end. So as January plods into February and February slowly migrates into March, I wait for that first warm, soft breeze from the south which heralds the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is just a matter of time now until the early flowers venture up through the softening earth and the trees come alive with the twittering of birds and bees flit from bloom to bloom.
But never in the deepness of winter do I wish it were any other way. For how could one appreciate the freshness of the coming spring without the travails of the long winter? Ah, Indiana, how do I love thee? In so many ways that I lose count.