It was Wednesday night, on our way home, Chris asks if I would mind if we stopped by REI.
Mind? I thought you would never ask.
Asking me permission to go to REI is like asking me if I’ll take regular or decaf. Let’s go, REI, right now, I’ll show you how to drop several hundred dollars in less than 10 minutes on bags, clothes, and shoes, and hats.
I walk into the store and directly inside the doors stands before me a smorgasboard of winter hats. Smorgasboard – how often do you hear that word but how often are you faced with rows upon rows of nothing but hats?
I have finally figured it out. The reason I cannot leave Illinois. Why I will stay in a place that has winter. It is because of hats. Winter hats, I love winter hats. I will forever stay in Illinois because I get to wear a winter hat. Hawaii, Florida, forget your sunshine and tropic breezes I’ve got you beat because I get to own and wear winter hats.
If you live in cold weather climates, if you are fashionable sporty girl, you have about a dozen winter hats. So I need a winter hat as much as I need another bag or another coffee mug. And that’s why when we walked in the store I went straight to the hats. Fleece hats, wool hats, knit hats. Hats with pom-poms, braids, flaps. One thing was certain with all of these choices – I needed a new hat.
I was like the little kid I heard screaming in the store the other day. “I need it! But I need it! I need it now!” Great effort kid except we were in Michael’s, the craft store, seriously kid what do you really need in there? Save it for the toy store. Or the coffee shop. But it was an act I could easily pull in this REI store and it would be right.
Immediately I had tried every hat on my head. There was a trail of hats on the floor and hanging sloppily from the racks. Overpriced hats, itchy hats, I had hats everywhere. I spent a good deal of time in the hat with the fuzzy flaps. Almost considered it mine. But then, then I saw the mothership of winter hats.
There it was, green with earthy tones, pom-pom on the top, ear flaps, inside fleece-lined and…..the selling point……long braids.
It had to be mine. I need this winter hat. I need it now.
I put it on my head, walked to the mirror, turned one way turned the other and realized this was the hat I had been looking for, this hat would be mine. I couldn’t take it off, didn’t want to take it off. In fact, Chris found me wearing the hat and said “that’s a cute hat.”
That was it. Confirmation from opposite gender that this hat and I, a cute couple, belonged together for winter time.
But what is a hat without a scarf? Incomplete. So of course I also bought a new scarf. Put it on along with my winter hat and headed home.
The next morning it was 64 degrees in our house. Sounds comfortable but for some reason when a house falls below 70 it is cold (have you noticed?). It was perfect, though, for the christening of a new winter hat. I put it on, it was warm. But the 59 degree outside forecast said to me the hat was a bit much. So I settled on the scarf, wore it half the day, even had someone come up to me at my desk and said “you look cold.”
I was. No I wasn’t. Not really. In fact I was really hot. But I was wearing my new scarf. Which would have looked much better with my new hat. But winter is near and there will be many hat wearing days ahead.
I've got to admit I am ready for the season of winter hats. There is nothing better than winter clothes, winter colors, running in the winter, going for a walk in the winter. There is something about winter that I cannot explain. As much as I dislike its heavy inconvenience, I enjoy it in so many other ways. There is a quiet to the world in winter. The world just seems to slow and shutdown. It is like an off season in mother nature’s legs. She makes it dark to signal the time for rest and recovery – go home early, stay indoors, get cozy, reconnect. If you listen you’ll emerge in the spring with the energy to go again but until then – relax.
It has felt like summer for quite some time now. It’s still in 60’s and honestly it's been a little too warm for too long. It's November. I’m ready for colder days. I’m ready for cold. This might make me crazy but when I walked into REI the other night and saw all of the winter gear I wanted winter to be there right now. I’m ready for thin air and north winds. I’m ready to put on my tights and mittens and run over fresh snow. And I’ve got my winter hat ready to go.