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Published on January 23rd, 2014 | by Richard Black

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1/22/14 A Casual Jog, SAD, and Thoughts on Where to Live in Winter

After dropping Darcy off at school for the day and then retiring for a much needed two hour morning nap I took it upon myself to go for a vigorous and brief 2.5 mile run.

It was exhausting.

Most things in winter are, at least for me. I’d move to a warmer climate but I have so many problems with other locals that it probably wouldn’t be worth the bother.

Florida, at least the southern part, along the Atlantic coast between Miami and Fort Lauderdale is quite lovely but I’m allergic to everything south of the Mason Dixon line.

I love the southwest. New Mexico and Arizona have some of the most resplendent and sublime scenery I have ever had the pleasure of driving through. Ever since my father packed his wife and five of my siblings on a marathon twelve day road trip to the west I’ve always seen it as a place where I could settle down for a few years and then die shortly thereafter from cirrhoses.

California is out. LA is really a great city but not one I’m particularly enthusiastic about. I have as much urban sprawl as I can handle here in the Midwest. San Diego is a study in the color brown, which is lovely, but not one I’m willing to sell a kidney for in order to afford a condo.

This leaves the Deep South, an area of the country I’ve viewed with some suspicion since my youth, but one that holds some promise at a cursory glance. It’s warm for most of the year, swampy much like the portion of the Midwest I live in, but incredibly inept at dealing with the trials of winter that inevitably occur.

The temperature doesn’t have to drop below freezing to be cold and most places in the Deep South aren’t equipped to handle the occasional bit of nasty weather that hits in the winter months. Fifty five degrees without central heating is still cold. People have died of hypothermia in similar conditions although, presumably, they were unable to find adequate shelter, clothing, a pile of blankets or a space heater.

After acquainting myself with the South I have to say that I have a soft spot in my heart for the region.

New Orleans is one of the best cities in the U.S. to visit for a few days although it’s always a relief to leave.

Mississippi is incredibly picturesque but riddled with poverty which isn’t a problem in and of itself but there are many third world countries I could also make a go of it with more beach space.

The same could be said of Georgia and Alabama without the pleasing view that Mississippi has to offer. I’d cheerfully cut off a toe, finger or even perhaps a thumb before living in Atlanta and while I’ve only familiarized myself with the top third of Alabama that was enough.

Don’t get me wrong the people in the South are among the nicest I’ve ever met. I have been greeted at diners and truckstops throughout Alabama and Georgia and Mississippi and Louisiana with more affection than I’ve ever enjoyed at most gatherings with my extended family.

There really is nothing like the South for hospitality and, if I ever move, it will most likely be there.

The truth of the matter is that, in some small part, I enjoy the changing of the seasons. If I moved closer to the equator I would never experience the unbridled joy of seeing the first hyacinth in Spring and its promise of warmer weather or the brilliant red leaves of the Maples that herald the beginning of the end of another year.

Winter, however, past January is something I can do without although even that time has its charms. Watching my daughter make snow angels before feigning a snowball fight are two memories I hope I never forget.

Those two remembrances alone are more than enough to carry me through the rest of the season.


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