Friday, January 03, 2014

cold, bitter cold, bitterest cold...

She asks me -- can we go skiing together Friday?
I hesitate. It's going to be bitter cold. (There is a wind chill warning out. Winter is not foolin' around this year.)
But you ski in this weather!
Dear one, I'm made of hearty Polish peasant stock!
I come from your stock, remember?

Earlier, there is breakfast, then Ed is off to his techie guy meeting...

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...and I do the usual Friday catch up stuff, except this time, for at least part of it, I have my older girl for company.

And when Ed returns, we pack three pairs of skis into the old Ford Escort and head out for Lake Farm Park. The one just down the road. A black and white road, patched like a holstein cow, with swirls of blowing snow.  Did I mention that there is a wind warning today?

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In the forest, the air is calmer, gentler, even as the noise of the wind against the frozen tree limbs is never less than a dull roar. My daughter's cheeks are lightly pink, but she pushes her scarf down and I do too. When you move along a trail, the world feels at least ten degrees warmer.

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As we finish the hour-plus loop, we look up to see a break in the clouds. Oh, I get it: it's going to be that kind of a freezing night! No clouds, Arctic air and wind!

And still later, when the sun begins its final slide, I am so taken in by the winter sky that I chase that sunset down our rural road -- to catch its fire-like madness over the fields where Farmer Lee once planted her flowers. I can see a thin sliver of a moon, rising high above the pink clouds.

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Closer, let me get just a little closer. I pull up on the shoulder of the road and roll down the window (not so easy in the ancient, stiffened Escort). How can a winter evening be this beautiful!

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There is so much weather drama this week and we haven't seen the worst of it yet. Monday promises to be even more bitter, windier, more chilling. Still I know it's not the coldest of January days. That happened 29 years ago, on the day when my younger girl was born.

I return to the farmhouse. It feels so deliciously warm inside! Sort of like being handed a mug of hot chocolate after an hour of ice fishing on a frozen lake. The porch lights cycle through their colorful little show, the last of the streaks of red crease the sky. A beautiful day. A tad on the cold side, to be sure. In fact, bitter cold. But so very beautiful.

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