A warm defense of winter

I love winter. More snow and less heat is all better and better. I probably get more beach time in February than I do in August.

Here’s a video that I shot at the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge in 2013.

In 2017, there were over 3,600 bears, and we raised $900,000 for Special Olympics Delaware. Who knows, maybe this year we will raise a full million dollars for this cause.

Here’s a link in case you want to help. I’m doing it anyway, on Sunday, February 4 at 1:00 PM in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. This will be 22 straight years for me.

This will also be my third year doing back-to-back plunges. On Saturday, February 10, I will jump into the Brandywine River to benefit the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance.

So, maybe I am a warm person, or just a bit off, but I love the cold weather and here are a few reasons why.

Winter slows the bugs

Lyme disease and West Nile Virus are not created by ticks and mosquitoes. The insects pick up these diseases by biting animals that have them. Most ticks go dormant at temperatures around 45 degrees, though most can survive most winters. Mosquitoes hibernate around 50 degrees. About half of emerald ash borers can survive -20 degrees.

The bottom line? It won’t get cold enough to kill them off, but a cold winter with a blanket of snow will slow these vectors. They will have to restart in the spring rather than running all winter and jumping you on the first warm day.

Winter opens the view

With the ticks and mosquitoes sleeping, you can get further into the woods, off the trail, and with the vegetation down for the winter, you can find things that will be buried again in the spring. You may find vantage points, abandoned building foundations, lost roads or paths, anything else that the greenery covers. Winter gives you a different perspective on the world.

Winter makes you think

What’s the safest way to get from where I am to where I need to be? A route without hills that I might not be able to go up or stop on, a route without icy patches or fallen trees? Do I have enough food to stay home through the snow storm coming up (almost certainly). If the power goes out, I can use the porch for refrigeration but do I have food that I can prepare without electricity? These aren’t usually concerns but in winter, they are, and the planning and organization are good for your brain.

Winter lets you rest and listen

Winter is quiet. The cold and dark are calling you to bundle up at home with a few friends or family. Spring and fall are exciting and summer is frenetic but winter is a reason to tend your own fire, to listen to yourself and close others, to plan for the warmer days ahead. Your body and your mind need the rest. Winter makes it possible.

Yes, it’s cold outside, and that can be uncomfortable, but throw on some flannel and down and explore, or stay home and take it easy. Winter invites you to do one, the other, or both. The noise and distraction and heat will be back soon enough. Until then, use your head and cover your head and enjoy the winter.