Stuck in Northern New York with a Smile

by georgettejohn

I always envisioned my adult life being spent on a warm, sunny beach. All of that has changed for reasons that are rooted deep in my heart.

As a child, I always told people that when I grew up I was going to live where it was summer all the time. As a young adult I researched tropical destinations suitable to relocate to. As often does in life, circumstances changed and I found myself putting the notion of the sun and beach aside to raise my family. Many times throughout the years I thought that the day would come when I would actually relocate to the climate of my dreams. Recently that changed, when the reality of what I really hold dear became very evident.

One of many days gone by

Realistically speaking...

Having been delivered on a warm summer day in 1964, I was a “summer baby”.  I am convinced I was destined to be one my entire life. I love the sun and the hotter it is, the happier I am. My entire essence is affected.  I feel years younger and  am utterly joyous.  My energy is comparable to the energizer bunny and my mind is a deluge of grand ideas, projects and highly ambitious ventures.  

It is currently below zero according to the thermostat outside my kitchen window.  I am sitting 10ft. from a roaring fire in the woodstove, wearing thermal undergarments, and dreading the reality of how many more days of snow I will have to endure before the arrival of Spring. I believe my mind and body are hibernating.

My son just came in from outside.  He is followed by my husband.  They have been out in this miserable weather for hours.  With smiles on their faces they discuss the depth of the snow in the woods behind our house.  I shudder at the thought of walking through it.  Over coffee they talk about the snowmobile and of course, the need to plow the driveway before dinner.  They are part of the reason I live where I do.

The other reasons that I live here will be arriving shortly.  The rest of my family. They all come home to have Sunday dinner  together.  I tell myself that as long as I am fortunate enough to have living parents and adult children that want to spend time with me, then I need to be here. I  also want to see my grandson grow up along with any future grandchildren I am blessed with.

The chaos begins around 4:30. They all arrive and final preparations are made to sit down together as a family.  Extra chairs are retrieved from around the house. I sit down last, after I am sure everything has been served. I listen to the conversations spinning and swirling around the table in between the requests to “please pass” this or that and the appropriate “thank you. I suddenly hear  my grandson mention building a snowman, my son reminds him of a promised snowmobile ride, and my daughters start reminiscing about  winter activities of the past: ice skating, snow angels, snowball fights, and days of sliding followed by warm cocoa.  I laugh along with them as one recalls the day we made the fake bobsled on the porch so my little ones could become the “stars” of their own personal mountain dew commercial. I remember how they held up snow covered empty cans and smiled for my camera.

Hours later, as they are pulling out of the driveway to go home, my husband restocks the woodstove. I make my way into the living room to catch a few minutes of the weather channel. Snow in Texas and they don’t know what to do with it, tornado’s and hurricanes elsewhere.  Hmm…maybe I should simply count my blessings, embrace the diversity of each season, and throw on another sweatshirt!

Updated: 02/12/2013, georgettejohn
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evelynsaenz on 01/09/2014

I grew up in Vermont but have lived in warmer climates. After years of exploring the world I have come back home to Vermont. Yes, the winters are cold and dark but being with family brings back the warmth and light. Take a trip to the beach but come home to the family.

georgettejohn on 01/20/2013

Everytime I come upon a statistics that claim people living in the climate I do die at a younger age, I read it to my husband. He quickly responds, "There are always the exceptions. Look at your grandparents." My grandfather was a logger most of his life. In his later years he brought supplies up area mountains with his horses. He was well into his 80's before he stopped doing that. He was 92 when he died. My grandmother just turned 100 in November and is still a spitfire! Go figure!!

Mira on 01/20/2013

Well, this may sound weird but I just read that "Heavy exertion in the cold, especially when focused in the upper body, increases the risk of heart attack." To me, however, it feels wonderful, and I believe it's very healthy for us, too, if we stay healthy otherwise as well. so enjoy winter (and forget about that quote).

katiem2 on 01/14/2013

Funny, I too had the same idea as a kid and I now live in Ohio where I have been for over 20 years...Funny how life changes our minds without thinking about it. Happiness is the best thing anyone anywhere can enjoy. :)K

georgettejohn on 01/13/2013

Thank you Dustytoes! I do feel very blessed and believe me, there is not a single moment that I take my family for granted. We've been through some extremely difficult times and faced some pretty tough situations but against some odds/statistics we weathered through it together, as a family. I've learned many things about life but the one that stands out the most is that it can turn "on a dime". Sometimes for the worse, but often for the best. Don't give up on your is never too late for something truly great to happen. It might not always be in the manner we expected but similar and fulfilling. Thank you for commenting on my piece. Just starting out with this, every comment is exciting!

dustytoes on 01/13/2013

You are so very blessed. You have a life I never have had, but always dreamed I would. A good man, kids and grandkids that come to visit. Wow, don't take that for granted for a moment.
I moved from the cold northeast to Florida where I lived for 27 years. Believe me - it's not just "warm and sunny" it is hot - very hot and it's not the paradise it's made to look like. You have everything. Without a family, no place is home and the world is a lonely place.

humagaia on 01/13/2013

Men may be from Mars and women from Venus but when it comes to the cold men seem to be more at home on a cold planet than women (even though women are more capable of surviving longer when exposed to the cold [something to do with subcutaneous fat!}).
We all (well nearly) have to compromise somewhat to accommodate the needs of our family - perhaps one day technology will get smart enough to give us interactive wallpaper and flooring such that ones living dreams are satiated with surroundings of deserted beaches in tropical locals, surf lapping at our feet, and surround sound appropriate to the locale (or for that matter snow and memories of winter woodlands for those that prefer cold to hot climes). Can't be that difficult, surely.
We in England (at least where I live) just received our first glistening snow fall of the year, overnight. More to come, is the forecast. Oh well boots, scarves and gloves (plus a weatherproof jacket) at the ready - grandson here I come for an 'adventure'!

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