i am drowning in winter. being a grown-up is just too complicated sometimes. winter is a childhood pleasure. forts and snowballs and skating and sledding and snowmen and hot chocolate. the specialties of winter. the smell of wet wool, the scrapy sound of snowpants rubbing together, red chapped fingers & cheeks and peeling lips. and the slapping floppy sound of unfastened boots hurrying to or from school. i remember rushing to catch the bus to school, half running and sliding on the frozen puddles with an open coat and a bag of lunch, up the quarter mile tree-lined lane to the road from our house. the bus was extra creaky in the cold. and a few times it slid off the narrow gravel roads and into the ditch in heavy snow and ice. and we'd wait while one of the high school boys would walk to the nearest house to call for help before hitch-hiking home. and even when the bus was on schedule, it was usually dusk when i climbed off the bus and headed back up the lane in the late afternoon to the glowing windows of home. and i could smell the warmth of the kitchen before i reached the door. winter didn't seem difficult at all.