“Winter weather is not my soul” sang Bill Callahan on Palimpsest, the moody opener to his 2005 album A River Ain’t Too Much To Love. I love Bill, but this is something we see differently. Winter weather is definitely my soul.
It’s not that I don’t like summer, as impotent and soggy as Scottish summers tend to be. I do. Nice days are nice. Everyone seems happier, colours are intense, and there’s always some laughable knob walking down the street with his top off, his “RFC 1872” tattoo proudly on show. If the stars align and we are allowed a clear evening, there is the possibility of barbecue, and I adore barbecue. There’s much to be said for the vibrancy of a good summer’s day, and I don’t begrudge anyone that. For myself, however, winter is where my heart is.
It’s not a popular sentiment. Save for a friend who observantly dubbed it “the most interactive of seasons“, Scottish people have turned bitching and moaning about the weather into a national sport. They grumble and complain about this year’s summer, as if practically every summer in recent memory wasn’t a complete washout with a few bright days. They bemoan our low temperatures, as if Glasgow wasn’t on the same latitude as Moscow. All things considered, our weather could be a lot worse.
Still, I’ll take rain or hail, wind or snow over limply ‘nice’ days. I’m not going to wax poetic about winter wonderlands, because we see almost as few of those as we do scorching summers. Suffice to say, winter gives me an excuse to be indoors. I like hearing and seeing the terrible weather outside because I’m indoors. When I go outside in winter weather, there are fewer people around, and the buffeting winds and lashing rains make me struggle against nature.
Sometimes I feel like everything’s a hassle; or rather, that everything should be a hassle. If you’re not coming up against adversity, something’s wrong. You’ve forgotten something important you were supposed to be doing, or you’re not trying hard enough. I’m not sure that’s an entirely healthy attitude to have, but winter subconsciously allows me to feel that struggle at all times.
It may be bleak, but this is the way things are supposed to be, and that brings me a kind of peace.