Repeat after me: There is no such thing as bad weather
We used to live in New Haven, Connecticut, birthplace of George W. Bush. We moved there from Salt Lake City, Utah and I am pretty sure that I experienced less culture shock moving from St. Louis to Berlin. New Haven is small and gritty and post-industrial. Yale is all ivy and old masonry as one would expect; but for me, it’s beauty is marred somewhat by the close proximity to real poverty and its attendant dangers to personal safety. I was never a fan of New Haven. The excitement that we had built up before the move, in which we created visions of ourselves as East Coast People, fell flat pretty quickly as we addressed the costs of childcare and housing one one income. We had one, and then two, small children. We did not jet off to Boston or New York City for the weekend, even though they were only two hours away. We did not enjoy the Off Off Broadway theater for which New Haven is famous–we were broke!
So, although New Haven as a city in which to live held and holds practically no charm for me, living there was in many respects like living anywhere else. You make or find a community of like-minded people–in our case parents with small children–and your life revolves in its own small orbit. Our orbit consisted of the families who were involved in our parent-run, co-op day care. It was a community forged in the fires of state childcare regulations and diaper changes and those moms and dads and their kids were my New Haven and THEM I loved.
The families in the co-op taught me all sorts of things. Don’t feed a toddler in diapers curry was one of those things but there were other gems, as well. The one I have been thinking of, and citing to others, frequently in recent weeks comes from my Danish friend Benedicte, who navigated much of her daily life with two (then three) kids without a car: There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. She regaled us with stories of her Danish childhood, when children played outside every day regardless of the (frequent) grey skies and rain, or snow, or whatever else Mother Nature threw at the residents of a country that is dark dark dark and wet in wintertime.
As fall turns to winter here in the Great White North, I am constantly reminded of Benedicte’s edict. I have invested in a full-length coat (this one, by Patagonia, though my black one is decidedly less shiny) and it is not only incredibly toasty but does not make me look like the Michelin tire guy. Yesterday was cold and wet and dreary. Today’s wet may involve snow instead of rain, which is really the way the end of November should be, anyway. I know the long, grey months of winter still lie ahead of us and I refuse to let the weather get me down. We shall bundle up against the cold and the wet and the wind. I have knitting needles and wool, warm clothing, and a ready supply of tea and toddies. All will be well.