Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cocooning in the Cold

I like bad weather. Occasionally. Specifically when I can cocoon indoors. Nasty weather presents opportunities to vegetate, to couch potato, to do nothing and not feel terribly guilty about the inactivity.

Before there was man or beast, there was weather. Beautiful sunny days. Cold, rainy, dark days. Snowy days. Windy days. Hot days. Frigid days. Animals, and later man, adapted. Early man huddled in caves for days during storms. Then people wised up and learned to pack their belongings and journey from cold weather regions to places offering more benign conditions during cold months (the original snowbirds).

Nowadays the 24/7 news media continually warn of impending doom-worthy storms approaching the Northeast, the Great Lakes region (think Buffalo), the endless plains and Western mountains. Following a milk and bread alert and quick run to the nearest convenience store or supermarket, residents are warned to stay inside and off the roads. 

I am happy to remain indoors and watch, through the double-paned window, my small car slowly but steadily transform into a white-encased mound.

I do not remember snow days – no school! - as a kid, but there must have been a couple over the years. I do remember my kids’ snow days, and not nostalgically. I recall long days dressing the boys in layers of clothing and sending them out to play. Depending on the temperature, they remained outdoors a couple of hours or a couple of minutes.

But they always came back inside. I peeled clothes off their cold, shivering bodies, threw the wet garments in the dryer, and made hot chocolate and a snack. By the time the boys finished eating, resting, and fighting, the clothes were dry enough to wear again.

The scene repeated again. And again, until it mercifully grew cold and dark. 

Fast-forward a few decades and cold, snowy days and rainy, squally ones entail a totally different experience.

Time indoors on these days should not be misused accomplishing useful things. They are occasions for laid-back activities like beginning that novel sitting on the shelf for weeks and making a pot of soup that, while simmering, pervades the entire house with a wonderful smell and tastes delicious as it is leisurely savored at whatever time of day one decides to indulge.

As the wind wails outside and the rain or snow falls, I make myself comfortable on the family room couch, surrounded by the tools needed for a day of comfort, relaxation, and guiltless squandered time. A steaming cup of coffee or hot chocolate. A pile of newspapers and magazines, and some books. My cell phone and laptop. The TV remote. A blanket to snuggle in.

TV watching is, admittedly, a waste of time, but during a day tolerating – more than that, sanctioning - wasted time, old TV shows and movies with casts of famous actors and actresses, most long gone, are a delightful indulgence.

The only time forced to leave my comfy corner is when nature calls.

Eventually the world returns to its frantic tempo. Re-energized, I resume normal activities, secretly awaiting the next weather-related retreat day.


  1. We're having a day just like that, pouring rain in Tucson. It's more fun than pouring rain in Seattle, where we live in the other seasons. A novelty.

    I'm going to read, I think. What a treat!

  2. When I had small children, I envied people with mud rooms on snowy days. Now I have a husband who needs a mud room of his own. I am quite content to keep myself indoors.

  3. The first snow day is nice. The power cutting out for lengthy periods sours the experience pretty quickly though.

  4. We've got normal weather again, with it freezing outside but mostly sunny. For awhile there, it was so warm it felt like summer! I envy you your cozy little spot, doing absolutely nothing but what you want. Oh, right: I'm doing the same thing myself! :-)

  5. Bridge likes to cocoon. I like to head south for some warm weather.

  6. We had a few snow days when I was a kid....I especially remember one on which the sun came out and the wind died down and the world was gorgeous! I actually went outside that day. These days if school is called off, we usually have to go out and clear the walks. And the driveway. And the mounds from where the plows went by. Sigh.