Here we are at the end of January and I’ve hardly written anything lately. That’s because I’m keeping busy staying warm. I live in Minnesota and we are experiencing a bit of a cold snap. Even for Minnesota, 28 below zero Fahrenheit is a bit extreme. When you factor in the windchill, which in today’s dumbed down society is called “feels like” temperature, it was 54 below zero this morning. That’s cold. Even in Canada or Alaska, that’s cold. Here’s a link to a little video that shows what happens when you throw boiling water into air that cold. It freezes instantly, turns into frozen mist and floats away on the wind. As the younger people say, WTF?!
For those who have never experienced that kind of cold, you can’t even imagine it. Not even standing inside a walk in freezer is the same. The air actually hurts your face. My dog, who is half Husky, half Malamute, and is born and bred for this kind of weather doesn’t stay out very long. It is warmer at McMurdo Station, Antarctica than it is here. A lot warmer. Right now it’s 19 degrees above zero there. That means it’s 47 degrees warmer in Antarctica than in my front yard! There’s something wrong with that. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but somethings wrong. It’s days like these that I contemplate selling my house, buying a camper and heading South. That could be a fun adventure.
Not only is it physically painful to go to the mailbox but the power company is asking people to turn down their thermostats. The extra power needed to keep up with the cold is putting a strain on the system and causing power outages. So imagine losing power to your house in that kind of weather. As Han Solo says: “C’mon baby, hold together!” Oh yeah, I don’t have to go to the mailbox because the postal service has cancelled mail delivery today because it’s to dangerous to be out working in this kind of weather. Welcome to a Minnesota winter.
We have a minute or two more daylight each day however, so that’s nice. For those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) it can be a rough time. So the extra daylight helps. Being retired is nice because I don’t have to go out if I don’t want to. A lot of cars won’t start. It’s just too cold. So here I am, not going anywhere, but staying warm as long as I don’t lose power. I suppose I could sacrifice a chicken or something to the gods of the power grid. Maybe that will help. Maybe I’ll just have some chicken for lunch. Maybe that will work.
Sharp edged drifts, sculpted by wind
frame the undulating snow covered hills
undisturbed by man or machine.
Pinkish orange in the morning sun the
valleys are left in blue gray shadow.
Underneath, on this cold January day
the ground slumbers.
Waiting for water and warmth, for
the turning of earth, the chance
to give life, and maybe dreaming.
Does the earth dream?
Raging wind and cold, gray clouds and creaking trees;
the winter season presses itself into my bones.
Little brown mice find their way through the
smallest crevices, into my kitchen and warmth.
Geese feast on leftover soybeans in the brown
fields and contemplate a southern retreat.
I wish for a fireplace with fine crackling logs
and yellow flames to warm cold tired feet.
So on the 29th of April, it is snowing in southern Minnesota. Not a ground covering freezing slippery snow but a wet, cold snow. The temp is about 34 degrees F which means that the rain is just turning to snow. It’s been doing this all day. So here is a Haiku for the day.
snowfall in the air
holds spring back another day
no sun for us yet
I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun, oh wait! I think it was Easter day. So it’s been more than a week since the sun shone on us poor pitiful cold southern Minnesota people. That’s what we get for living here I guess. I can tell you that when the sun does come back to us, the air will warm and the days will be beautiful. Minnesota is the best place in the world.
Standing still in the snow I look across the field.
The cold air presses against my face, a living thing.
As my shadow slowly moves a turkey appears
pecking at the snow covered dirt, mindlessly moving
to disappear behind a hill. A dog barks and is silent.
My breath, coming through my scarf fogs my glasses,
obscuring my vision. I take one step and the snow
crunches under my boot, loud in the still air.
Looking over my glasses the world is blurred
and softer than reality, but still cold.
Pale golden sunlight through thin clouds
lays across the skin of ice on the
lake creating vague gray shadows.
Grasses, once bright yellow ochre,
now the color of an old bristle broom
crowd out muted brown and green lichens.
Bare brown trees stretch up from the ground,
reaching scraggly fingers as if to say,
give us back our leaves, we are naked and cold.
In this landscape of diluted colors bright
red berries cling to the dried spindly branches
of an old bush hiding in the trees.
Holding on to their color with fierce
determination, saying, we will not leave,
we will stay bright, defying winter.