Forward Living: Is it so weird to be in love with winter?

Have you noticed how quiet the North Fork has become? It seems like the Earth and its inhabitants are taking a collective breath and hunkering down for the winter. Sure, many folks head for warmer climates, and I get it. A quick trip to an island would be welcome. But, overall, yours truly loves this time of year.

Before you label me as weird (nothing new here), allow me to state my case. The holiday hustle-bustle is over and the over-the-top glitzy advertisements are gone, along with the tourist traffic. I can once again drive from Jamesport to Mattituck in a few minutes.

The Weather Channel folks scare the bejeebies out of us with forecasts of snow and wind chill factors — so much so that folks will head to the supermarket to stock up on bread and milk after hearing a prediction of flurries. This phenomenon perplexes me. It may feel like Armageddon, but in reality it’s just snow.

There’s no doubt about it, snowstorms create hazardous driving conditions and, obviously, it’s prudent to stay off the roads. However, instead of railing against the weather, here’s some unbidden advice: As an alternative to sitting indoors eating Bon Bons, why not explore the winter wonderland in our own yards? A sense of adventure and warm clothing are all that’s needed.

When was the last time you built a snowperson (I try to be politically correct) or made a snow angel? It’s fun and can awaken the kid that dwells inside everyone.

Winter is the great time to take a walk on one of our many beaches. The views are stunning. (Yeah, I know, during the summer months guys take in the stunning bikini-clad bodies; and gals, we know what to look for!) Seriously, folks, although I’m not a photographer, my camera is always ready. Who knows when something will strike my fancy?

Lately, I’ve become mesmerized by the way the sun reflects off the water, making the Peconic Bay look like it’s studded with diamonds. Watching the various waterfowl as they nonchalantly float on the water is fascinating. Really!

Frank and I enjoy trekking through our local parks. During the winter, these areas are beautiful in their stark simplicity. Absent are the summer crowds, campers and noise. We reward our pioneering spirits with cups of steaming hot chocolate topped with real whipped cream. OK, perhaps you’re not crazy about walking, but be honest, who doesn’t like the hot chocolate-whipped cream duo?

If the out of doors still doesn’t thrill you, check out the wineries. They offer a variety of activities that can make one forget the cold, or perhaps welcome it. Otherwise, enjoy a meal prepared by our talented chefs at one of the many restaurants dotting the North Fork.

Winter is the time to nix the hot dogs, burgers, etc., and try a new recipe or cook up some comfort food. Frank will turn out a pot of his famous spaghetti sauce, making our home smell like Little Italy. When time permits, I put on my favorite music, cozy up with a good book and just be.

The way I see it, winter is a time to restore, rest and reflect. Before we know it, the earth will wake up, the crocuses will bloom and summer will arrive along with the tourists — and thank goodness for them.

I guess you’re wondering about my weirdness right about now, what with loving the winter and tourists. Well, folks, without tourism, I wouldn’t be writing about our winter wonderland because the landscape would be overrun with “file cabinet houses” (not much inspiration there).

The song “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds, a popular American folk rock band of the ’60s, strikes a chord with me. The first verse goes like this:

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose under heaven.

Convinced yet?

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.