Or, the lack thereof... so far as the snowflakes are concerned.
To be honest, I was blessed to see a precious few fragments of ice flutter from the sky on a night in December, but in the morning the ground was still the colors of forty-degree weather and rain, generously painted with mud.
They say that one year just as the bluebonnets were blooming a ghost blizzard finally blessed Texas with a dusting of winter.
I won't ask my Southern friends if they considered aforementioned blizzard a blessing, however.
This Yankee-converted-Southern gal has found herself aghast more than once to observe barefoot young 'uns traipsing through the January puddles without so much as a shiver, their mamas wearing flip flops and tees, sweet tea and ice in the pitcher on the counter, be it raw fog or sixty-degree sunshine.
Any stray breeze sliding beneath forty degrees, in Southern minds, is "misery." Where I come from, those same forties are enough to cause any decent Yankee to shout a few hallelujahs, at least, if you happen to be slogging your way through January.
In the South, a "winter storm" is defined by floods of rain wrapped in wind, though lacking the barred teeth of a nor'easter. A dusting of ice, if the "misery" happens to be at its most depressing. Behave like a self-respecting Confederate and recall sunnier January days, when the temperature poised between a kinder fifty and sixty. Allow yourself just a few complaints while you're at it; thirty degrees doesn't blow over just every morning.
In the North, a "winter storm" a.k.a a nor'easter, is usually defined by any number of feet of snow. Said snow can vary between heavy and light, the precipitation varying between one and ten feet. Archetypical reaction of a good hardworking Yankee: Push your front door open, elbow your way to the woodshed, break your arms hauling a dozen chunks of hardwood inside, thaw out, and enjoy the pristine winter panorama from beside your woodstove. Oh, and don't forget to stoke her up, while you're at it.
In the South, "winter wear" might include your favorite hoodie, usually with some proud Texan expression scrawled across the front (Dallas Cowboys, y'all?) and boots (cowboy, duh) Flip flops in the back seat of your pickup in the event of a warm snap?
Everyone does it.
Everyone does it.
In the North, one's "winter wear" collection may consist of anything ranging from parka that looks more like a sleeping bag than a coat, several pairs of boots, considering that a mere tramp to the barn fills your feet with snowballs, and about five hundred pairs of gloves, beanies, scarves, face masks, coveralls, socks, and more gloves and hats and socks. Because, of course, you're bound to lose a pair or five every season, and these are the items essential to existence.
And one final observation to mention.
In the South, we enjoy two seasons.
And slightly chillier than summer.
In the North, the number spikes to seven.
Therefore, not everything is bigger in Texas.
But, the stars at night are still big and bright.... albeit, I regretfully confess, not tonight. We're having a "winter storm"... just listen to that rain. :)
And I reckon the high's gonna hit the fifties tomorrow...
Missing snowflakes, but addicted to sweet tea,