The Personal Blog of Stephen Sekula

Like it Hoth

The most common thing Canadians say to us after we exclaim how much we love it in Sudbury is this:

Just wait until January.

All Sudburians to Foreign Nationals from Warmer Climates

To which I say: some like it Hoth.

Hoth was, and still is, my favorite setting in the Star Wars universe. An ice planet teeming with interesting life where you have to make ice caves just to setup a base and where speeders have to be adapted to the cold? Uh. Yes, please.

When I was a kid in Connecticut, I would take my Star Wars miniatures playset of the Hoth rebel base (complete with ion cannon) and my AT-AT playset and my Rebel Snow Speeder toy out into the first deep snowfall. Really, any snowfall. There, I would reenact the Battle of Hoth.

I would inevitably wind up covered in snow, freezing but feeling that strangely feverish warmth that comes from insulating clothing that doesn’t insulate everywhere, and finally stumble back into the house with a runny nose and a red face and a deep desire for hot chocolate.

I went to graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin, a place that was far colder in winter than my home state. It was the first place I got regular bloody noses from the dry air and where my sinuses took congestion to a whole new level. It was the first place I legitimately needed a humidifier in winter just to feel human again.

But the beer was good, the fires cozy, the people warmer than the days in summer, and the winters beautiful and stark. I loved it.

Except for a brief stint in Cambridge, MA, for 17 years after I lived in warmer climates. I did 7 years in California, 5 of them consecutive with Jodi, and then we lived for 12 years in Dallas. We went from colder and colder to hotter and hotter.

I do not miss the desert prairie heat.

At the first serious snowfall in Sudbury, I giggled like a child. Memories of Hoth toys in a snow bank tickled my memory. Now the north is under its first major snow storm alert. Nevertheless, we made it to Wisconsin for Christmas with our family here. There must be 2-3 feet of snow around the family home. I spent part of the morning chipping ice and brushing snow off a natural gas tank to check the level on its gauge. I spent about the same time digging out a stall in the garage that had been clear but then blocked up by the snow plough. Now I am sipping hot chocolate downtown.

I feel very good about all of this, and it’s not even January.