Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved winter. He loved all seasons equally, but the things he loved about winter were the snow and the nip of the cold air, hot chocolate and the smell of the wood burning stove. He looked for any opportunity to get outside and build forts and throw snowballs and make snow angels. He and his friends spent hours after a new snowfall tracking each other through town and across the neighbors’ yards, pretending to be on secret missions or playing war (as boys do) or elaborate games of hide and seek.
Then the boy grew older and went to college and discovered, somewhat to his dismay, that he no longer enjoyed winter as much. Removed from the shelter of his childhood mountain home, he found that the wind cut through him like a knife, chapping his skin and making it hurt with the bitter temperatures. He still had the occasional snowball fight with his friends, but they were usually short-lived battles, infrequent at best. The boy learned to move quickly from building to building, hiding from winter’s assault. He learned to endure winter, yearning instead for the warmer temperatures of spring and the blistering heat of summer and the freedom to move about that came with the warmer seasons.
The boy grew older still, got married, had a family, and realized one day, again to his dismay, that he no longer enjoyed the summer’s heat quite as much. The milder temperatures of spring and fall were now what he looked forward to, and he wondered how this had happened. He could remember shaking his head in disbelief when older grownups complained about winter and summer, but now he understood those sentiments all too well. It troubled him then, as it troubles him now, that two of his favorite seasons could, over time, become seasons merely to be endured.
Now the boy is not yet 40 — several years removed, in fact — and there are days when he feels much older. It is on these days when he has to remind himself that he has much for which to be grateful. The seasons come, and the seasons go, and with them both the good and the bad. But it is the good things that make these seasons of life worthwhile, and it is good to remember that.