By Diane B. Hyzy
This has been a crazy winter for our entire nation. With hurricanes, mudslides, forest fires, ice storms and blizzards, it seems as though everyone is dealing with some type of weather challenge. All of these newsworthy stories got me thinking about everything that people who live in warm climates never get to experience that us lucky Western New Yorkers do.
The average non-Buffalonian thinks about our area experiencing only one type of weather; snow. We know the secret of basking in four beautiful seasons. Just as one season nears its end, we can look forward to the harbingers of something new – new sights, new sounds, new smells and new changes to our wardrobe. Even those who claim that they dislike the winter have to admit that donning a new cozy sweater has a special feeling. In contrast, we also love to shed our fleece layers to feel the sun on our bare arms.
Living in the Northeast, we all have become well-versed in weather terminology. Thanks to our friends Kevin, Todd and Andy, we know the meaning of lake-effect, understand the difference between grapple and sleet and discern the distinct differences between a storm watch and a storm warning. We know how to interpret warm and cold fronts and secretly get excited about seeing that wall of snow on the weather map. And speaking of snow …
The two greatest words to a kid (or teacher) in our city of good neighbors are "snow day." We all watch weather forecasts, track radar and anxiously await those magical words on a radio or television broadcast. Kids in warm weather climates never get the thrill of participating in pre-snow day rituals of wearing their pajamas inside out, putting ice cubes in the toilet and placing a frozen spoon under their pillows. The anticipation leading up to a snow day is almost as fun as a day off.
Living in a four season climate gives us a plethora of choices for outdoor activities. From kayaking along the Inner Harbor to skiing a black diamond hill at Kissing Bridge, we have countless opportunities to try a new sport.
Residing in the Queen City requires us to possess unique driving skills. We shop for cars with all-wheel drive and tires with deep treads for predictable traction. We know what headlights to use in fog and learn how to turn into the spin when we hit a patch of ice. People who are raised in warm weather climates may panic, while we enthusiastically say, “Hold my Timmy Ho's and watch this!”
I believe that one of the best benefits to living in a region with such weather variety is a sense of perspective. Recently, we had a stretch of weather where our temperatures and wind chills were in the negative digits. Once we surpassed the freezing point, the parkas stayed in the closet and the shorts and T-shirts came out. Although we all know that the deep freeze will be back, we lounge in the double digit temperatures and feel joyful.
With a change of season comes the appreciation for new views. A few winters ago, it was truly a thrill to see bare pavement and patches of grass after months of snow. Walking through Chestnut Ridge on a colorful autumn day or sitting along the Buffalo waterfront on a perfect July night never gets old. Enduring less-than-pleasant cold and dreary weather, makes all of us appreciate that brilliant sunshine when it makes its way back home.
So take a moment to stop and smell the antifreeze; spring will be here soon enough.
Diane B. Hyzy of Kenmore likes the advantages of a four-season climate.