Growing up, I dreamed of sunshine and spring break and shorts and bikinis. I dreamt of a warmer world in the winter. A place away from dirty slush under cars and frozen fingers and starting cars 20 minutes before you have to leave.
Now that I am woman grown, and living in Texas, I miss those cold Northern winters. I miss coats and hats and gloves and walking in the snow and seeing your breath fog in front of your face. I miss the change of the seasons and the tedium of winter and those first promising days of spring.
I always thought of winter as a dead time. The frozen death of the year. But, now I see that I was wrong. The beach in winter is a beautiful place. Fresher, cleaner, bracing...and perfect for reflection and wandering. No tourists line a winter beach. No sunbathing, no boating, no sandcastles. But the memories of last year remain, and the excitement for the heat of the next summer is palpable. The beach in winter is a lovely place to be alone, to own the beach for yourself. And I hate to admit it, but the wintertime water might even be a little bluer, and a little more beautiful.
Now that I live far away, I find that winter in Michigan is a beautiful thing. I only wish I'd loved it more before.