We’ve been getting a lot of snow. I shoveled three times today to try and stay ahead of the falling, falling, falling snow. The water is wonderful, I said to my aching back. The water will be so nice in the summer. Green grass and flowers wouldn’t be possible without this shoveling. But apparently my back muscles are hard of hearing because they kept complaining away. Buggers.
I came in from taking out the garbage a few nights ago and the cold air stayed in my hair for a few seconds after coming inside. I stamped the snow off my feet and shook my head, and that air crossed my face like the breath of a memory. The picture of a young mother came to my mind–a pioneer story I’ve read about several times. The woman’s husband died in their tent, and she refused to enter it the night after. Instead, she pulled her children close under a blanket and spent the night sitting under the brittle sky. Cold gathering in her hair, skin, bones.
When the weather turns like this I wonder how anyone has ever survived it. The pioneers on the frozen trail, the prisoners at Auschwitz looking up at icicles on the ceiling, the soldiers in Valley Forge. Heat can be brutal too. But there’s something frightening about cold, how fast it saps. It’s the temperature of death.
So at this time of year, I’m often buried–not only in snow, but in a deep sense of gratitude for the comforts of warmth. Furnaces, fire places, hot water, warm cars, hot chocolate.
Sometimes being warm feels like a miracle.