I tend to say that I hate winter…it’s just so cold and dead.

But I do have SOME good things to say about it – yes, even outside of Christmas. I like the color of the sky as the sun sinks down; midnight blue meets its persimmon complement as the dark hands of the leafless trees reach up in praise to the King of the frozen sky.

Right now, I am listening to Richard Souther’s “Dream Suite” off of his 1985 debut album, “Heirborne.”

Typical of many of the trips we took, I remember listening to this cassette on my Sanyo (Fast-forward only!) walkman in the back of the family 1982 Impala station wagon, staring at the blueish shadows on the purple snow at 11PM as the stars twinkled at us. The broken down corn stalks and golden uncut grass showed an undulating silver wash as we sped on by at 55 MPH. This was on the way to my grandmother’s house for Christmas break. I was eight at the time. Dad was listening to cassettes of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, but at that age, I wanted to drink this music in as much as I can. This was the first time I had ever experienced nine chords, and rich, fat synthesizer pads.

Years later, I would find the Meadowlark collection released on CD’s for about $7 a piece in a Borders near Roosevelt Field mall in Long Island, and would buy everything they had. Meadowlark was Sparrow records’ answer to New Age, godless music. It was “New Age” in its style, but was done by and on Christian themes. Richard had 4 albums in this series, 2 as Richard Souther, 2 solo piano albums, released under his middle names, “Douglas Trowbridge.” How cool is that, I loved all these albums and had no idea they were the same guy. Check him out at http://www.richardsouther.com.

Sometimes, I long to sit in the back of that Impala again, on the way to Warsaw, NY. Through the cold night, warm inside the car with my family, on the way to see more dear people who I still love and miss very much.

My life tends to imitate itself. Years later-it was 1999, when I was done with college-we still were making that same trip over the Christmas break. This time, we stopped in Rochester, at a Borders again, and there I bought Ken Ishii’s “Jellytones” album. There is a piece on that disc called “Endless Season,” which I listened to over and over again, in the back of Dad’s minivan, this time on a Sony Discman. It has a great portamento lead and shiny pads that also signifies winter to me, but this time it’s when the sunset sky is all pink and purple, making the snow seem like a faded blanket of made of fuzzy peach skins. Fat flakes come plopping down on your windshield and everything outside seems so silent and still. Wait a second, I’ll go cue it up in iTunes.

Ken Ishii soon became my subway ride buddy. Still I can close my eyes and see that snowy road…

Yes, I do actually have a few good things to say about winter.