UNDERDRESSED

Davos, ice skater in a bathing suit

UNDERDRESSED

Last weekend’s storm was noticed, as it came up the coast, because it threatened to give us snow. Away from the coast, it gave only a dusting, however it did give us two days of roaring north winds.

We also got a roaring north wind from the next storm, which got far less notice for it didn’t threaten us with snow. In fact it passed well to our west, and the counterclockwise flow gave us south winds and, at first, a remarkable warm-up. On Monday morning it was only 4 degrees (F) with a roaring north wind, but by Tuesday afternoon it was 40 (F) with rain showers, and southwest winds.

People relaxed, and looked southwest to the next storm, however Tuesday’s storm was not done with us. It ran into what is called a “block,” and couldn’t depart far to our north and west. Instead it was deflected east, passing to our north, and then was shunted southeast, until it was out over the Atlantic to our east, where it did what most storms do out there, and became a gale center. Our southwest winds swung around to the north, and the temperatures dropped as the departing gale brought down two separate cold fronts and increasingly arctic air.

Some people are aware of such changes, while others are oblivious, and their degree of awareness is sometimes reflected by how they dress their children. At our Childcare we sometimes have to gently remind parents it is cold outside, as children arrive underdressed.

I have one friend who works construction, and currently works up eight stories in Boston, in a building that is exposed to the howling winds. I have noticed his children have wonderfully warm winter outfits, likely because he knows what it feels like to be in the cold.

Other parents live amidst the luxury of modern warmth, which I personally enjoy. There is nothing nicer than a warm car on a cold morning. However, because my Childcare is located on a farm and is based around outdoor activities, I spend a lot of time outside and don’t loose touch with how cold it is. In fact being outdoors increases my appreciation of a warm car.

Some people do seem to lose touch. They only notice weather when snow might stop their cozy car. Otherwise their experience of the outdoors is limited to a dash from the home to the heated car to the heated workplace to the heated car to the heated store to the heated car to the heated home. This allows them to under dress, and save a lot of money, because they don’t need to buy anything made of wool.

When I see such people hustling through a parking lot, wincing in the winter winds, I always shake my head and then pray, “Lord, help that person, if they ever get a flat tire.”

Underdressed people are a little like hothouse tomatoes growing in Iceland. If the heat ever goes off, they are in big trouble.

If you believe in Darwin, we are evolved apes, and belong in a nice warm jungle. If you don’t believe in Darwin, we belong in a nice warm Garden of Eden. In either case we sure shouldn’t be running about in the dead of winter in summer clothing. Nor should our children.

In my business I sometime notice one child isn’t having as much fun as the others, outside in the winter winds. The others are running and sliding on the skating pond, ignoring the campfire despite the winds, and even asking if they can remove their coats, but one child is huddled by the fire, despite a winter coat. When I investigate I invariably discover that under the winter coat they are wearing some skimpy shirt or blouse meant for warmer weather.

How can such a child enjoy the outdoors, relish the winter, and join the other children in their play? How can they gain the happy experiences many of us remember from our own childhood winters? What sort of roots are they growing, and what sort of adults will they become? Will they love their landscape, harmonizing with nature, or will they become hothouse humans, divorced from the very world they inhabit?

Oddly, when I suggest to some that they are underdressed, they say I am in no position to talk, because they think I am talking about fashion, (and I am a bit of a slob.)

Well, if “clothes make the man,” in terms of fashion, then “clothes make the child,” in terms of childhood. If you want your child to be politically correct and “love the ecology,” you had best dress the child to go out and be in that “ecology.”

Unless, of course, you feel the only safe way to experience nature is via a video.

(Another’s view of this issue: http://www.freerangekids.com/do-kids-play-less-outside-in-the-winter-for-a-surprising-reason/)

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