Use winter to relax

Here it is, right in the middle of November in good old Warren. Most of the reason we call fall “fall” is behind us, because most of what falls has already fallen.

Many of us have finished our raking and mulching. We’ve stuffed many sturdy brown paper leaf bags with the last remnants and have cleared the leaves out of our rain gutters — maybe wishing we had installed some kind of gutter guards to avoid this unwelcome task next fall. We’ll dutifully take those bags to the curb on the designated nights for Warren’s reliable pickup the following day. Isn’t it wonderful when a plan works out?

Some of us older Warrenites sort of miss the fall days when we could burn those leaves. We miss the convenience and the wonderful aroma. We don’t miss the smoke, watering eyes and all those ashes. The EPA would be pleased.

In my front yard is an average-sized maple with just a few remaining leaves hanging on for dear life. Usually, these little brown survivors make it all the way through winter only to mysteriously disappear in the spring. They should get an award for sticktoitiveness. Their brethren had sacrificed themselves before they fell to the ground in a beautiful October display, especially for this mortgage payer to behold.

We’re staring another Warren winter in the face. Wasn’t summer just last month? Winter can be beautiful in good old Warren. The trouble is, we live in northeastern Ohio where we go through a relentless freeze and thaw all of which encourages our pavement to heave and crack and produce for us some humongous potholes that could be mistaken for stone quarries.

Sometimes I pretend to be racing driver Juan Fangio as I skillfully dodge or straddle those potholes. It’s a skill I have developed from decades of driving over Warren’s streets and roads. Our road crews certainly have a huge job to do.

Just as other communities in northeast Ohio must do, we spread salt on our roads and byways to keep us safe in our travels. However, it wreaks havoc on our cars and trucks. Some relatively new vehicles show rust-throughs on fenders, rocker panels, doors, tail gates, gas doors, hoods, and trunk lids. It’s the price we pay for having safe roads.

As far as getting salt on my car, I try to stay home until the roads clear a bit. (I’m retired.) And getting my car washed frequently is a great way to meet new friends, although all of them work at the car wash.

So am I complaining? No! I really like Warren’s sometimes dull, gray, slushy winters because I don’t have to explain why I choose to stay indoors.

It’s not a time to hunker down and endure. It’s a time to take it easy, work a bit on my income tax without begrudging the fact that I’m missing some beautiful weather, catch up on my reading, pop some popcorn, work a crossword puzzle or jig saw puzzle, snuggle up under an afghan that Aunt Mabel knitted just for me and indulge myself with one serving (the entire container) of ice cream. It’s my contribution to those concerned about food spoiling that’s been kept too long. I’ve never heard of ice cream spoiling, so everybody must be doing their part.

So, winter is coming. Embrace it, enjoy it, shovel it, slog in it. Make a snow person. (Am I politically correct, or what?)  Use winter as a time to relax, renew, rebuild, recharge and reflect.

Maybe you could think about getting a new winter coat to replace the one you have that has celebrated a decade or more of birthdays.

If winter ever gets you down, think of the words of Percy Bysshe Shelley: “O. wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

Mumford, of Warren, can be reached at columns@tribtoday.com