I hear many bemoan the arrival of cold and snow, but what do they expect?   Winter doesn’t officially start for another ten days or so, and I have helpfully reminded such complainers that this will all be good practice for January.  I feel that in many ways this is the finest season of all. Of course the holidays have a way of rising the emotional tide of goodwill, but I think that this recent dusting of snow symbolizes what is fine about the joys of Midwestern American living.

For example, I give you the upcoming Bears vs. Patriots tilt this Sunday.  After all these years I can take or leave the Beloved, but the promise of two first place teams playing on a freaking cold Sunday – with wind gusts predicted up to 40 miles per – is too much fun to resist.  The Bears are rarely this good in December, and this is free winter joy for taking.  I fully intend to soak up this battle in the blizzard. Game time is 3 PM.  

Not as free, and not as cold (thankfully) will be the arrival next month of The Jayhawks into our fair metropolis.  This is incredible  – the original band will be playing complete albums to the locals.  It will be one of those rare times – when you find the right venue – when Chicago in January might just be the best place on Earth to be.   May The Jayhawks – hailing from cold Minnesota – find winter here pleasing as well.

Speaking of.  When I was a child they used to call Chicago winters “the Hawk.“  And just yesterday along the expressway I counted six of them in a five mile stretch.  I’m pretty sure they were Red-tails, but there were a couple that looked like Broad-winged hawks to me.   It’s hard to tell when you’re rolling down the road at 60 miles per.

Snow. High winds and high cold, frolicking bears and an assortment of migrating hawks.  Can it get any better than the sight of tardy geese flying in a loose vee over a frozen pond, with a new crescent moon chasing a pink sunset down into the western horizon?       

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I have been a horticulturist for thirty years working in the Chicago area and beyond. I have lived in Oak Park for over thirteen years. My writing has recently appeared in the journal Ecological Restoration...