The young prince graduates from high school in a few months and is mulling college choices. He really liked a school we visited in the Bay Area last spring, as well as one we toured in Manhattan in mid-summer. Thanks to the timing of our visits, he is under the impression that both places are warm, bright, and sunny, much like where he grew up.
College is all about discovery, of course, and if he chooses one of those schools over several warm-weather options, he’ll soon discover the difference between an Ooh-should-I-wear-a-sweatshirt? winter and an Oh-God-it’s-February-and-I-pray-for-sweet-death winter, the kind that fades your skin to a fish-belly white and limits your exercise options to a) shivering, and b) pulling on galoshes.
Part of me wants to explain all that before my son makes his choice (the part that will need to invest in all that expedition-weight underwear), and part of me wants him to find out for himself (the part that resents anyone who has lived nearly 18 years in board shorts and Etnies). Ultimately, I’ll support whatever decision he makes. I’ll also be right here in the mid-winter sunshine, awaiting his inevitable return.
There are lots of reasons to live where we do. For me, the biggest ones are these reliably warm, crystal-clear Februarys when anything seems possible. You’ve probably heard the claim that, if you live in Orange County, you can surf and ski the same day. I actually tried it once, and it was absurdly easy, hardly even a challenge. I was in the water by 7 (my surfing was more theoretical than actual, but still), and in a lift line by lunchtime.
Our “Get Out!” cover story, which begins on Page 68, explores Orange County’s seemingly endless mid-winter opportunities to get outside and get moving—a reality too many of us take for granted. We offer it as a nudge to fling open your doors for some fresh air and endorphins, especially at a time of year when you can brag about it to friends outside our cozy little temperate zone. I made an obnoxious art of that for a while after moving here 25 years ago, dialing up old pals in the Snowbelt on New Year’s Day simply to report Orange County’s ambient air temperature.
This month’s cover package is basically an extension of the same impulse, a lusty nyah-nyah to those held hostage in winter by everything from cold and snow to treacherous roads and seasonal affective disorder. So please forgive us the urge to celebrate winter’s outdoor activities in Orange County. We do it for one simple reason.
Because we can.
Martin J. Smith
Coming Up …
We show you the hottest spring fashions hitting local stores, and discuss juvenile delinquency with “Rules of Engagement” star and Huntington Beach native Patrick Warburton. Plus, follow a local artist down a peculiarly American rabbit hole and into the quirky world of the annual Federal Duck Stamp Contest.
Illustration by John Ueland