The older I get, the colder I get

main beach, Fernandina Beach FL

Beach walkers.

By Bruce Stambaugh

It’s a pretty simple formula when you think about it. The older I get, the colder I get. That’s how the math works for me.

The equation yields opposite results for my dear wife, whose thermostat seems to be heading in the other direction. Her female peers know what I mean.

All this is to say I can’t take the cold winter months anymore. My old bones shiver just writing that sentence, and I’m wearing a wool sweater. The goose bumps on my arms give testament to that fact, too.

While others wear shorts and t-shirts, I dress in pants, long-sleeved shirt, hat, and maybe even a jacket to stay warm. That’s how cold I get. Part of the chill is a side effect of some of my medication. I take it and dress accordingly, often in layers.

Being cold isn’t the only consequence of growing older in Ohio winters. My fingers swell, stiffen, and are continually cold. The skin on my fingers cracks in the damp, chilly weather. I realize those are minor problems given current world conditions. It’s still annoying.

grandkids sled riding

Good memories.

In my younger years, I enjoyed the cold, especially if it was accompanied by a decent snowfall. I’d join my brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, and sled ride for hours.

Once hunger and snow blindness set in, we’d head home to warm up with soup and hot chocolate. Our cheeks were rosy to the point of stinging, our noses red from the frosty air, our fingers tingling numb. We would change into dry clothes, and off we would go again, cascading down Winton Avenue as if we owned the road.

Sledding was at its best in an undeveloped section of a local cemetery. We felt charmed if we made it all the way downhill to the creek bank, dragging our feet in the snow like parachutes slowing a dragster.

Those days are long gone. I probably couldn’t even get on a sled. Now my wife and I spend the coldest parts of winter in northern Florida. It’s usually not always balmy there, but it’s not Ohio weather either.

Our hiatus from the northern cold affords us more benefits than warmer days. Neither my arthritis nor my bum right knee hurt as much thanks to the combination of the warmer weather and the many walks we take. The ocean was the front yard to our rented condo unit.

We walked south one day, north the next. Our preference was to stroll the compacted, moist sand at low tide. But walking in the softer sand at high tide worked, too. I felt warm either way. It was better than crunching snow.

Other times, I would head to nearby Egans Creek Greenway, an ecologically friendly nature preserve set in the middle of the island. The walk in the bright sunshine warmed my body and my spirit. Birds of prey, shorebirds, songbirds, marsh rabbits, river otters, white-tailed deer, assorted turtles, butterflies, and baby alligators all coexisted in the diverse habitat of salt marsh reeds, grasses, and shrubs, and the hardwoods, cedars, and pines of the tropical hammock.

I am grateful to be able to make these snowbird trips each winter. I don’t take that lightly at all. I know the time will come when that modus operandi, too, will end.

But until then, Neva and I will likely continue to seek shelter from winter’s harshness by heading south come next January. That’s a warming therapeutic algorithm sure to solve any chilling problem.

sunset, Amelia Island

Until next year.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2017

8 Comments

Filed under birding, birds, friends, human interest, nature photography, photography, travel, writing

8 responses to “The older I get, the colder I get

  1. Hi Bruce, loved your blog for today, as we prepare for the biggest snow storm of the winter here in central PA. In less than 2 weeks, we head to our favorite, Jekyll Island, Ga, just a neighborly drive north of your snowbird stake. We haven’t reached the ability to snowbird yet, but anticipate that happening soon. Just not soon enough! But for now, 2 weeks in the warm will sure feel good after the storm coming. I’m anxious to see if my knees feel better, walking the beaches morning, noon and night! Keep your blogs coming, they may not warm my body, but they sure warm my soul .
    Claudia (Belleville, PA)

    Like

  2. I got the same problem with the cold and my joints. I may give it a try next year if I’ll still vertical.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m already dreading the coming spring and summer, with all of the attendant sweating and stickiness that comes with those seasons. I actually look forward to the day when the heat no longer bothers me so much, of course, that’ll mean I’m getting older, which adds new problems. On the other hand, climate change is rapidly ensuring that no matter where you are, there are now way less winter days and more 70 degree Februarys.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What climate change? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Never fear … spring is on it’s way. We traded the East Coast Climate for the Western Slopes of Colorado climate … colder but drier. It’s amazing that we often have to open our windows in winter because the sun does such a good job of warming up the house. Would you ever think about moving to a warmer climate?

    Liked by 1 person

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