“Winters are not like they used to be,” was a comment I often heard from my grandparents, great-uncles, and aunts. “One time it got so cold the pipes froze under and inside the house.”
So, it catches me by surprise when I find myself saying almost those exact words. “I remember the first winter I lived here, my husband had to thaw out a water pipe with a hair dryer. The temperature dipped to minus thirty-five and stayed that way for over a week.” Or, one I kind of embellish every time I re-tell it, “Where I grew up, some winters got to negative fifty.” My childhood winters were indeed incredibly cold. When I left my Canadian hometown for good, I wrote down when the ice on the lake melted: June 1st.
No doubt the world has become warmer. Today, the ice on the lake near my childhood home melts in March or April. We don’t see negative thirty-five temperatures where I live now. But it does get colder than many places in the United States, and when the cold does settle into the mountain valleys for months at a time, it seeps into my bones and stays for a while.
This week, when the temperatures dropped suddenly and without warning, I was taken aback. I had to wear warmer clothing, bundle up when I went outside, and cover my face when the icy snow pellets hit my face like tiny bits of glass. It felt cold. Really cold. Instantly bringing me back to the land of my youth, where winter storms left everything in a thick blanket of snow; clean, glistening, and white, a breathtaking beauty that filled my heart with possibilities.
As of late, some of my friends have chosen to winter in warmer climates: Arizona, Mexico, or Thailand. But I’ve chosen to stay and let the cold settle in, enjoy the long nights, play in the snow, watch winter storms cover everything in a magical layer of pristine white, and dream about my next book.
“Winter forms our character and brings out our best.” T. Allen
How did you find solace this week?
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