I grew up in the mountains, below Yosemite National Park, in a subdivision affectionately called “The Basin” in Mariposa County.
The Basin is situated at a higher elevation than the town so it wasn’t uncommon to have a completely different weather situation happening at home than what was happening in town, where my high school was located.
A blizzard worthy of Antarctica could be burying my house beneath the big, fat snowflakes falling from the darkened skies and yet, a half an hour down the road, it was sunny with clear roads.
Which meant I had to dress in layers — or else I would freeze or die of heat stroke.
But unlike many of my friends, I loved the gloomy weather. The sunshine made me scowl; the ominous clouds rolling in made me giddy.
I love everything about rain — the sound, the smell, the cleansing sense of a fresh slate; there was nothing more satisfying than sitting by my window, listening to music (usually my parent’s Moody Blues album) and letting my imagination run like a wild thing.
To this day, I am most creative when the weather is menacing outside. There is something about the energy of a stormy day that fuels my imagination and tickles my inner muse.
But even as I loved the rain and snow, I appreciated crisp spring days with tender shoots of grass pushing through hard soil, blistering summers spent down at the creek, and cool fall nights that reminded us that winter was soon coming.
Then, I moved to the Central Valley where there are two seasons: devil’s-armpit-hot-summer and might-want-to-grab-a-light-jacket-winter with a spot of rain here and there, and back to scorching hot again.
At first I didn’t miss the snow because, let’s be honest, sometimes dealing with snow is a major drag (snow chains, electrical black-outs, having to bury all your food in the snow so it doesn’t rot, etc.).
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to miss having actual seasons, if not a full-blown blizzard.
It offends my soul that on a recent weekday, in the middle of January — it was warm enough to wear flip-flops.
I want to bundle up with a blanket, hot chocolate, and a good book as the skies dump buckets of water outside.
I want to complain about the chill in the air as my breath plumes from my mouth.
I want to have an excuse to wear my fluffy boots for more than a day.
Or maybe I just want to feel the way I felt when I was a kid, cuddled up in my warm pajamas, slippers, and Moody Blues playing in the background as I imagine what my life will be.
Nostalgia comes in many forms. Sometimes scratching at the surface of what you think you miss is really an opportunity to rediscover who you were before life happened to you.
I guess it’s time to put that on my “to-do” list.
In the meantime, don’t mind me; I’ll just be curled up by the window, listening to the rain when it comes.
Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide occasional columns.