Right now, we are having real winter, with as much cold and snow as can be expected. Or close, since there is no wind today. The toughest winter around here also means strong wind in gusts which makes us feel much much colder than it really is.
This abundance of snow I'm talking about... well. I took a few photos of it - see for yourself:
Look! It's snowing!
And some of the snow is actually on the ground! Wow!
Don't laugh now! I did say everything is relative, didn't I?
I remember different winters, though. You see, I'm not from around here (a friend of mine, an American lady, finds this phrase hilarious) - I'm from over 40 kilometres away! (almost 25 miles)
The thing is, it means that I cannot use my home dialect or people would have a hard time understanding me where I live now. And you should see the ascent between this valley and the basin I come from! From this town, 106 above the sea level to my home town, 314 metres above the sea level I climb this mountain (drive in a car, that is) about 1000 metres above the sea level. And while this valley is still affected by the Adriatic Sea, this influence cannot be felt in that other town.
I remember a metre or two of snow every winter when I was little. And we had sleighs. And then skis. Our ski boots were modern enough for those days, at least for us. They were automatic, you see. If you were wearing those ski boots, tied tightly with laces, with two pairs of warm socks inside (knit by my mum or aunt) and had an ugly fall, you were very likely to end on your back or butt and barefoot. And laughing. Or not, depending how well you could take it when others were laughing at you. Most of us laughed with the rest of them.
We had to stamp all the slope and make our own ski slope. Not a small job for 7 - 10 year-olds. And then we had to come to the top wihout any help each time we wanted to ski down. Slalom? Sometimes, but my favourite was downhill. As long as it wasn't icy. Going too fast could be dangerous. I remember racing down the hill once missing a tree by a few centimetres (okay, two or three inches, maybe).
I don't have to mention we were really really fit those days, do I? Knee injuries? No way. You know how much exercise our knees got? Those ligaments must have been extremely tough and flexible at the same time. I can't remember any injury AT ALL. Not on skis. And very few otherwise.
We went out in the morning (not on a school day, of course) if we could, went back for lunch and out again. It was quite near our house and it was great. I remember waiting and waiting when I had to go until I could wait no more. Absolutely no more. Then I went in, to the bathroom, changed my wet mittens and socks - sometimes I had bleeding blisters on my soles, but it didn't matter - and off I went again.
Snow, cold, great exercise, great company... geez! those were wonderful days!
And now I live in this place whre snow hardly sticks to the ground (if at all). But if I were still living at home, winters would probably make me just as nostalgic.
Winters are not what they used to be.