For most of the day today, it’s been in the single digits and windy. Now, it’s safe to say that at some point, my neck of the woods will be roughly 30 degrees colder than today – and we fortunate souls with warm homes and long johns will survive, as we have in winters past. But that doesn’t change the fact that this first blast of long, dark winter is always a shock to the system.
For me, the shock is more defibrillation than electrocution, however. Think about it: You step through the door and the cold sends a shudder the length of you; you blink, bewildered, in the blinding light and gasp as the wind steals your first breath; your extremities tingle and throb – and in that moment, just for a second, you wish for a swift return to warm, dark oblivion.
Then your eyes adjust, and the world comes into cold focus. You look around in wonder at the bright, pale sky; the glittering grass. Each breath now is a victory, a swirling prayer of thanksgiving drifting skyward. The skin on your cheeks shrinks to a tight smile, and every stiff motion, each hurried step, calls to a sleeping world, I live.
Not for long, however, if you stay out here. To work, then!