I hate winter—cold, snow, ice, scraping car windows, heavy coats, hats, gloves, boots. Yet I love the snowflakes falling in front of my eyes and in my hair. I like to watch the snow in front of my headlights switching from high to low beam for the change in patterns. I like to put those first tire tracks on my country road. I like the glistening purity of that first snowfall on the ground. I like looking out from the warmth of my house at the snow in the moonlight. But, I hate winter and the weeks and months of the weather it brings here. I hear my sentiments about winter repeated everywhere I go. So why do we stay here if we hate these months out of every year? It’s a trade-off for jobs, families and our homes that hold us fast. And, no place is perfect.
When I see those published lists of best places to retire, I devour the pictures and look at the cost-of-living trying to decide which place is most alluring. Then I wonder, how could I possibly move someplace I have never even visited? I can, because I have done it before.
Making a Move
Thirty-two years ago, only weeks after our wedding, Roy and I packed our belongings into a hand-built trailer and drove across the country to Tucson. Neither of us had ever been to Arizona before. I cannot remember why we chose that state except possibly for the lure of The West and for the scenery and weather that was the antithesis of Pennsylvania. We reached Tucson and immediately liked it, although we drove to Phoenix to check it out. Tucson still had that feel of the small-town West though, while Phoenix was a city that spread across its suburbs for miles.
We stayed in a campground while we looked for a place to rent in the city. Just off the intersection of Speedway and Alvernon, we found the ideal house with a pool to rent. Every weekend we explored the state. We entertained family and took them sightseeing. Jacob was born in Tucson, the rare Arizona native. A few months after he was born, we returned to Pennsylvania believing family was important for our child. It was important; Jacob and Cary talk of the joys of having two sets of grandparents growing up. Eventually though, Roy and I finally shared our feelings about moving home; neither of us had wanted to leave Arizona. The consequences of lack of communication changed our lives, whether for the better or worse is impossible to know.
So, will this winter be the one that pushes me to that warmer, more temperate climate or will family and things hold me here longer?