Last week’s cold snap made me cringe for the country—for the tropical fish and frozen oranges in Florida, for Cass and Paul waking up to a 26 degree Louisiana kitchen, for anyone attempting to vacation in Miami, for the startled people in North Carolina.
But for us? Some mornings the radio said we were the coldest spot in the country? Not so bad. It’s all in what a person expects. 30 below zero, ok that’s cold, it hurts the exposed flesh and nostrils, but sometimes it’s all part of the winter package. We have Under Armor (do not underestimate the effectiveness of that magical stuff)…we have face masks and mukluks and parkas….no problem. When it gets up to 10 below, we go out. So often it is sparkly sunny and still. Hard to describe to our Missouri friends. But we like it, so for now you don’t have to feel sorry for us.
Sometimes I wonder how to express it so people who call will understand that I’m not making it up.
Everybody gets the initial allure of snow—and childhood thrills, like the taste of snowflakes and Christmas cookies. The trout fishermen and the skiers—they need no convincing, they’re hooked too.
But believe me there is more.
Maybe I should tell you about the arctic air scrubbed with the icy cold. You can taste the purity, just like when you swim in the BWCA lakes, and the water that seeps into your mouth is cleaner than anything else. Not making it up. I LOVE it that the chill clears away any possibility of tropical termites and cockroaches. It clears the way for all but the heartiest residents and visitors.
Fresh air feels like a clean slate. Which is huge when you consider it. Bright Spring start. Can’t anticipate that, without the Winter.
The full moon—I give up on that one..because that’s impossible for me to even photograph, or detail the crunch of the footsteps when it is really snapping cold in the moonlight.
Can you feel the Complete Joy of this dog who has been cooped up too long—and finally gets out for a hike?
Or the calm when it is just starting to snow—so soft, so still. Denali and I have been skiing to Brant Lake…and the feeling of heading out into the silence, and knowing that there is almost no chance that we will see ONE person out there. Not one. There’s something rare and serene in that kind of solitude.
Andy and I followed fresh moose tracks for the entire Centennial Trail—apparently well traveled—(we have spotted a mother and two adolescents by the bus stop.)
Always, there is the contrast of life and death—the black standing trees, the snow frosting that lingers on the green branches, the angle of the sun. No winter bugs, and this is not insignificant.
There’s the refreshing feeling of coming inside, rosy and satisfied, where it is warm and cozy—that alone is worth the winter, isn’t it?
And this week, it’s up in the 20’s and 30’s—easy, balmy. I wish I could share it—even with a friend who wrote to me last week that she “was meant to live in the Caribbean.” I think–if she gave it a shot, she might like it too.