In Hong Kong, in early February, the world is gray enough to feel like winter. Sometimes the sky drips, and sometimes the fog lingers on the hills. It’s a brief sensation that will be forgotten by the month’s end. As a child of wintery climes, I take comfort in the cycle of seasons, and am glad of these dark days. Pulling on shirt, pants, socks, and hat before making tea is a rare requirement in this city. Having nights be cold enough that the cat wants to snuggle happens but a few times a year. I pad through the unlit house and have to turn on the light when I reach the kitchen as the window, though uncovered, adds no light to the room. These small changes and the brief moment they occupy remind me of our lives in other places, and I treasure them.
Hong Kong will not hold this weather for long, nor the feeling of winter. At seven thirty, as they always do, the cockatoos swirl through our small neighborhood squawking. Entirely tropical birds with incredibly loud opinions and silly plumage, they dispel the idea of true winter with their daily arrival. As the world lightens the density of foliage on the hillside and the park, unchanged from summer, makes it clear that this is no northerly place. The thermometer, were I to look, would say 16 degrees, hardly cold. And yet these are the days for fleeces and puffy vests, for wool hats and socks inside.
We take what we can get, and enjoy each moment we are aware of the variety.