I’m just not ready for winter.

In fact, I think I was born in the wrong geography. Inside I’m really a California girl who ended up in the Rockies. I much prefer flip-flops and T-shirts to boots and sweaters, and I detest “layering,” that nonsense about wearing two tops, a sweater, a vest and a blazer.

As a rule, though, we don’t get much snow in these parts, due to our own geography – sitting as we do on the east slope of the Absarokas. When those prevailing westerlies head our way and smack into the high elevation west of us, snow is dropped in the mountains, leaving us high and dry. From what I can gather, this is why the Cody area is classified as a high, mountain desert, leaving us with fairly dry weather.

In my days in the ’90s at the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, I had numerous visitors and phone calls from folks who would say, “Bet you measure snow in feet out there rather than inches.” I’d explain that even though we were close to Yellowstone Park, we didn’t have much of the white stuff.

Yes, the typical winter in Cody is drab but dry. Plus, it doesn’t get started until late in the year: Witness the skiers biting their nails wondering if there will be enough snow to hit the slopes by Thanksgiving. Snowmobilers worry they won’t be able to test the snow until after New Year’s.

They really need only wait until February.

On the other hand, with a dry winter, we can typically drive with ease, wear lighter jackets and dust off the snow shovel only occasionally. I dare say, that for the most part, we could actually get along quite nicely without snow tires or four-wheel drive. Our brand of weather, though not always pretty, is considerably more practical, and I’m all for practicality.

But there is a problem. Sometimes, moisture-laden “systems” don’t always come from the west. Weird patterns of high and low air pressure – I never can keep them straight – bring systems from other directions. Then, we have several inches of the white stuff and wonder what took so long.

I’m guessing our skiers, snowmobilers and snowboarders are thrilled.

For me, though, it’s cause for a long, deep sigh as I count the number of weeks until Memorial Day.

With our dry winter so far this year, I never did “switch out” clothes, i.e. dig out the sweaters (I do have a few) and pack away the shorts and summer T-shirts. I’m still in the mode of fixing salads instead of soups, sandwiches instead of casseroles – not to mention grilling everything in sight.

Yes, we can still grill in the winter, but it means shoveling a path on the deck, using a broom to sweep the snow off the barbecue and prying the frozen lid open. No, I think I’ll wait for a thaw.

Finally, with a few metal pieces implanted here and there, and some arthritis settling in, I find that cold weather boosts the aches and pains. I’m reminded of Robert Redford’s comment in “Electric Horseman.” As he awakened one morning, he complained to Jane Fonda, “Some parts wake up faster than others.” 

Today I know what he means.

Now, where did I put my snow boots?

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