Wednesday, November 16, 2005

(this post is dedicated to commenters no. 6 & 7 from the previous post)

Hey you! I know you love the Midwest. I know that you are not living here for reasons that have nothing to do with your feelings for this place. But come on, surely you do not miss days like today! Read on:

This morning it is confirmed. What touched my face with wet slobberishness late last night turned into an icy cold dusting of snow this morning.

Madison Nov 05 274

Some people, whom I have heretofore considered reasonable human beings, actually claim a fondness for this shift in climate (from nice to awful). I sort of don’t believe them. Show your love! Join me out there in barren expanse of snow, ice and frozen earth!

And yet, and yet, I want to challenge myself. I have time. The Torts class doesn’t convene until noon. I am going to peddle my way to the countryside! Mr. B, you and I are going to love this Wisconsin blast of cold air if it kills us!

It nearly does. The temperature is hovering around twenty, the windchill is in the single digits or less. There are icy patches on the road and the wind is kicking up a nice 30 mph gust as I push against it, heading south.

Madison Nov 05 258
(on Lake Monona, looking bewildered by the sudden freeze)

First, my nose disappears off my face. I can’t feel it, so it must be gone. Then my fingers, wrapped in Austrian leather (you guys mustn’t get the winters we do, is all I can say), freeze lovingly around the B. handlebars.

Ten minutes into the ride I do a nice 180 degree turn and head back toward the Square.

What I need is not a one-on-one with nature, but a one-on-one with a warm café. Preferably a welcoming space, painted in golden yellow tones. With gorgeous warm burgundy throw pillows. And a copper bar. Oh and please, find me a place with beautiful photos hung on the walls. A family-run café, where I can give the owners a hello kiss, because, you know, that’s how it’s done in glowing places where the espresso rocks and the croissants rule. Just one more request – a name that warms my soul on this cold November day.

Madison Nov 05 263
Cafe Soleil

I am filled with love and good will. My adorable Torts class needs a pick-me-up as much as I do: load up the boxes with croissants, brioche, and chocolate squares.

Madison Nov 05 260

Later in the afternoon, I set out home. Mr. B is grunting at me. Yesterday rain, today snow. I can hardly push him against the strong winds. I am undaunted: you will make it, so will I. You’re tougher than tough. Me, I’m just plain tough.

But I know our limits. I do want to see the fields dusted with snow. I want to take a look at the dogwoods and birches against the fresh powder coating the ground. But let’s be real here. I like the feel of my nose and fingers. I am resigned. I leave Mr. B at the loft, dust off the car keys and head out.

Madison Nov 05 275
construction workers, heading home

Madison Nov 05 280
outside the city: less snow, serene landscapes


  1. I like the snow. It feels like renewal. It covers up all the half-alive messy things I'd rather not think about (weeds I never got around to pulling, lawn half-destroyed by moles, dog shit I should pick up...) with a pure pristine blanket. It makes me feel that things are possible again.

    Where o where is Cafe Soleil???? I want to be there!

  2. I thought about you and Mr. B as I was walking home today. I hope you did better than I did, although I only once found myself suddenly sitting on the sidewalk as my feet skidded out from under me. I don't think I would have fared as well on a bicycle. (Oh, and the croissants/etc. were *heavenly*!)

  3. I love snow. You should try our winter. Mid-westerners point and laugh at our trembling shivering 40 degree winters but our chill is wet and damp and seeps into your soul and makes you moldy and makes you pasty and pruny and drunk beyond your years. Springtime we are like waterlogged cadavers ready for some sun shine. The healty among us only have a light green patina cause we get naked infront of the heater.

  4. birdfarm: Oh I am plenty happy when there is snow. The real stuff. This blast of cold air that freezes the ground and the nose and gives a token shake of the snow-shaker is another thing altogether.
    As for Cafe Soleil: on the Square, downstairs from L'Etoile restaurant, open until 2:30, great sandwiches in addition to the baked stuff.

    Miss Bess: Me, I thought about your comment as I set out this morning. One look at the ice, one quick feel of the wind and I waved a parting hand at Mr. B and walked to school. Oh, and I just looked at the croissant photo and wondered why I'm here and they're there and I have to wait a whole two hours before I can get my hands on one.

    Asia, I feel for you. I hated the dampness of the British Isles in winter, or Decembers in Poland where the temp hovers at around 32 but it comes through as so damp that your spine feels constantly exposed, subjected to electric shock treatment everytime you step out. God it's awful then. Midwest winters produce a lot of sympathy though. All I need to do is mention the windchill yesterday and I get a lot of hugs and offers of future cosmos.

  5. Would that I had a Torts prof like you! Food to share with your "adorable" class? You must be one awesome professor.


I welcome comments, but I will not publish submissions that insult or demean, or that are posted anonymously. I am sorry to lose commenting Ocean friends who are not registered, but I want to encourage readers to submit remarks only if they feel they can stand behind their words. I do not seek a free-for-all here. I like camaraderie far more than conflict.