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By Sally Torbey

Easy living

Uploaded: Nov 16, 2014

As I settled in a sunny spot this morning to read the paper and watch my youngest child at a swim meet, I received a text with a photo of snow flurries from my daughter, who resides in a place with real weather. Although I have lived over half my life in California, when I spend a day at the beach in November with blue skies, weather in the 70s, and a gentle breeze, I still have a sense that we just aren't supposed to have it this good.

Living in a place with an ideal climate and gorgeous scenery is way too easy, and the Midwesterner in me has a nagging sense that I have become soft. Coping with a harsh climate builds character, and living in a place so pleasant makes me uneasy!

Winter is coming and yet there is no need to install the storm windows, locate the car's ice scraper, liberate the bulky wool and down clothing from storage, or ascertain that everyone has snow boots and the other eleven other items of clothing required to prevent frostbite when leaving the house. Being a kid in the snow is a blast, but parenting in such a climate must be an ordeal. And yet, I feel guilty that my kids can only "visit" snow, and do not know the joy of creating the impromptu snow angel on the way home from the school bus stop, or shoveling the pond for ice skating, or building an igloo in the front yard.

My parents relocated from the Midwest to Southern California when they were in their 50s. My dad embraced the lifestyle with long walks on the beach training their newly acquired stray dog to catch a Frisbee with spectacular leaps, but initially my mother struggled. I think it was the embarrassment of owning a hot tub, the epitomy of decadence in her mind.

While challenging weather probably does make us more vigilant, resourceful, and capable, there is also a lot of energy expended just surviving. Perhaps this is the real source of my guilt. I am painfully aware of all the extra time I have because I am not in a daily struggle with the elements. I really should have accomplished something extraordinary to show for it!