I don’t have super powers. I just own more sweaters.
That’s what my friend Marc said one day at lunch. We were all living in Southern California at the time. Our view at lunch was the Pacific Ocean and the Malibu Pier. Occasionally, pods of dolphins would swim by. Another one of our friends, a native Californian had asked Mark how he survived the winters in his native Minnesota. To the Californian, Marc might has well have grown up with Superman in his Fortress of Solitude or riding a Tauntaun with Luke Skywalker on the Ice Planet Hoth.
I just own more sweaters.
Today I shoveled my driveway for the second time in two days and the I’ve-lost-count time since January. Yesterday’s snow/ice mix was like a Slush Puppy without the whimsy. Today’s snow was light and fluffy but there was a lot more of it. I would like to say I’ve gotten Zen about the shoveling, the physical labor a spiritual activity like the monks who dig holes only to fill them up again. I would like to say it, but it would be a lie.
But this isn’t a rant about the weather or climate change or how hearing a snow blower across the street while you struggle with last year’s snow shovel can induce white-hot rage. Nope. I may not use clearing the driveway as a mindfulness exercise, but it does give you time to think. Tonight, it was quiet outside as the sun went down. Schools were closed today so the after work traffic was light. The weight of the snow muffled what noise there was and the sun set softly, without fanfare, into the cold night.
I thought of Marc and his sweaters. South Florida is where I call home, even though I’ve lived in places like Philadelphia, Detroit, and now New York. I get the opposite question from Marc. “How can you stand the humidity? It’s so humid in Florida.” I always remind everyone that it is humid and gets a lot hotter in the summer in Philadelphia and New York than it does in Miami and it never does snow. Not ever.
The truth is you just own more flip flops. Or rain coats if you live in Seattle. Or sun hats if you live in Palm Springs. Or sweaters if you live in Minnesota. The ability to adapt and find your place no matter where you are is something I learned early from my mom. We moved a lot and she always made the best of it. She always made sure I had what I needed, whether it was flip flops or sweaters. She was fond of the saying “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” Sure, it’s corny. But I’ve thought of it over and over again during lonely, tear-stained nights.
New York is not an easy place to live, snow or no snow. Today while I watched the news coverage of multi-car pile-ups and a plane that skidded off the icy runway at LaGuardia, my parents were at a golf tournament. I ask myself, a lot, why I don’t move back to Miami. But this is where I’m supposed to be. At least I think it is. So, for now, I just own more sweatshirts.
In case you’re wondering, Marc didn’t go back to Minnesota after we graduated. He stayed in California. I don’t know how many sweaters he owns now.