Cold Feet, Warm Heart

Cold Feet, Warm Heart

By Rachel Birdsell

I watched a documentary last night that explored what makes people happy. A man with a lot of letters after his name explained that our nervous system simply registers differences. So, without sadness we can’t have happiness. Without tapioca pudding we can’t have chocolate crème brûlée. This also means that without the drudgery and gray cold of February we can’t really appreciate spring. I don’t know if that last one is true or not, but I’d love to live somewhere where it’s warm all the time just to test the theory because I hate cold weather. Here in Eureka Springs, the winter isn’t horrible. In fact, some might refer to it as mild or other words that try to make it seem better than it is. For me, anything below 50 is uncomfortable and at this point in the year, entirely unnecessary. The holidays are over, so any hoping for snow is over. The novelty of warming my toes or roasting my chestnuts on an open fire has long past faded. I no longer thrill at the nip in the air, and instead I’m waiting for spring to get here so I can open the windows and not have to live in a closed house with three cats who have shed so much hair they’ve completely replenished their coats three times since November. I’ve been tempted to knit their hair into a sweater for extra warmth. The only thing that is stopping me is the fact that I can’t knit that well.

But it’s just not the cold temperatures that have me cursing winter. It’s also the dry skin, getting dark at two in the afternoon, scraping frost off my car windows, static electricity, gray skies, colds, flus, power outages, and the lack of flowers and birds. I heard a bird singing outside this morning and I was so happy that I started singing back. Then it made a sound which sounded remarkably like a laugh and flew off.

But, before its rapid departure, the bird reminded me of how much I’m ready for spring.

I realize that anyone north of the Mason-Dixon Line is laughing at me for being such a weenie about the cold. Go ahead and call me names. Ridicule me. Taunt me with your ability to walk around barefoot in shorts and a T-shirt when it’s 30 degrees out. While your snot is instantly freezing in your nose the minute you step outside, you can feel as superior as you want to. For those of you who like to state the obvious, yes, I know I can remedy this situation by moving to a warmer climate. The problem is that I’ve yet to find my Shangri-La. I want to live somewhere close to the ocean where it’s 55 to 85 degrees year round and where there are more sunny days than not. I also want there to be a lot of rainbows and puppies and free margarita fountains on every corner. I have the feeling it may take awhile to locate my dream town, which is why I’m going to close my laptop now and start practicing my knitting.

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can follow her at or email her at

Categories: Commentary