American Elephants


When Does It Become “Winter”? by The Elephant's Child
November 29, 2022, 8:01 pm
Filed under: Politics

It snowed a little today, early, in Seattle. Does that make it officially “Winter”? I had to look it up to see when Winter officially begins. According to my computer, Winter is composed of December, January and February. Not much help.

Growing up in the Idaho mountains, winter started when the snow started, and that’s what I’m accustomed to. When it snows where you live, it becomes “winter”. If you have to drive up a local mountain to find some snow, that does not count. Winter does not depend on the calendar, but on snow. On the other hand, this is Seattle and snow is not necessarily a regular thing even in the winter months. Seattle really is a coastal city.

I lived in Phoenix for a while, and snow happened on the surrounding mountains not in the city itself, but we did occasionally have a little. For someone who grew up in the mountains of Idaho, that didn’t really count as snow at all, just a minor annoying mess, only rarely enough to turn anything at all white. Obviously one’s understanding the the term “Winter” may have more to do with the presence or absence of snow than with what the calendar actually says. Or that may be just me, and others may see the seasons differently.

Winter is quite different in many parts of the country. Deep snow, where you’re stuck until the snowplows do your street. I’ve never lived with deep city snow, where you have to plan ahead to make sure you are supplied for however long it will take to be well plowed or melted. I don’t have much understanding of how northern cities deal with major snow. Obviously they are well prepared with equipment and practice to handle what the rest of us might regard as crippling. Here it seldom lasts long enough to be a very big deal. It would be interesting to compare cities across the country, those who get a significant amount of snow, in just how they handle it. Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York for example. Those are states that have cities near or on the border. We’re a big country with a lot of different climates and skills in dealing with them.

The photo is simply a snowy city. No idea where it really is. We don’t get anything that dramatic, ever. We don’t get hurricanes either. People learn to live with what Mother Nature dumps on them. If you want a specific kind of weather, you may have to move to find it. The United States is a big country with lots of options.


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