We should have known it was coming–the “woolly worm” told us so months ago. And if the narrow brown stripe on its woolly little back weren’t enough scientific evidence of the brutality that lay ahead, then the spoon-shaped persimmon seeds served as back-up confirmation: It was going to be a bitterly cold winter with too much snow to shovel and too many icy winds to endure.
That nasty Old Man Winter (or “Jack Frost,” as his friends call him) made his official entrance in these parts a few weeks ago, grasping us firmly within his arthritic, arctic clutches, sending us slip-sliding every which way but forward and making a complete mockery of that whole “global warming” theory. If he had crept in quietly and gently, I could have tolerated–even enjoyed–his visit, but apparently the cantankerous Old Man was in no mood for such pleasantries, and now neither am I.
I did forgive the old coot after his first bout of wickedness dumped almost eight inches of snow and ice on my landscape and isolated me at home for over a week. So what if my car couldn’t make it out of the driveway? My refrigerator was stocked with goodies, and I had online shopping to occupy my days and a stack of good books to comfort my nights. And besides, that billowing softness draped my woods in a blanket of whispering beauty that beckoned me and my camera to walk and marvel in its midst.
But his next little frosty tantrum has left me and everyone else screaming, “Enough!” For the past two days–with the ground once again buried beneath snow-covered ice and with temperatures below zero and wind chills 30 degrees below that–it has been colder in southwest Missouri than in Anchorage, Alaska. And that’s just not right.
So here’s my message to you, Old Man: Hit the road, Jack. The calendar may indicate you have another two months to visit, but you’ve already out-stayed your welcome, so pack up that little “polar vortex” of yours and head back north–way north–where you belong. And don’t you come back (no more, no more).
I thought maybe the roaring inferno that blasts on and off (and on and off) within this ol’ body would be enough to ward off the frigid winds that blast into the room every time the dogs think they need to go outside and then reconsider as soon as the door is opened. But no. Not even sky-rocketing hot flashes have been enough to combat this cursed evil. I want to re-locate the dogs and claim as my own that slant of sunshine on the kitchen floor, curling into a tiny ball beneath a mountain of covers while filling the room with hot air via an online, slumber-inducing broadcast of the Rush Limbaugh Show.
I’m tired of being cold.
Sure, these winter days have a few saving graces (although not enough to suit me). Being stuck at home has allowed me to test my resolve on a few New Year’s resolutions regarding diet and exercise (and has taught me how to gracefully accept defeat). I’ve had the time for (and pleasure of) ridding the cabinets, counters and fridge of all their sugary and salty sins–all without much fear of repercussions because I’m quite certain that intake has been counterbalanced by the water weight lost from all the liquid draining from my nostrils every time I come in from the cold. And if that drainage hasn’t been sufficient, then shivering uncontrollably has certainly helped me to burn billions and billions of calories–which means I will soon be the size of a pencil.
But until that time, the requisite seven layers of clothing perfectly conceal any body imperfections, like the protective layer of winter blubber around my middle and the untamed forest growing below my knees. Thanks to gale-force winds and electrifying static, my hair has unbelievable volume, and thanks to my aching joints, I can predict with absolute certainty when the next storm front will be rolling through (and can stock up on salty and sugary goodies in advance of it). Attempting to pry open my frozen car doors and then trekking on foot to the mailbox provide a great cardiovascular workout (and give me numerous opportunities to scream my frustrations into the white-washed hills).
And with every icy breath I breathe in, I can take some small comfort in knowing that in the woods just beyond my door legions of ticks and chiggers and fleas are dying a frost-bitten death and will not be around to accost my summer fun.
So, it’s all good, right?
No, no, it’s not.
But it will be. We’ll be getting more freezing rain tonight (my hips told me so), but soon temperatures will begin their gradual climb (they have to), and daffodils and crocuses will begin peeping through the melting mess. Spring will be murmuring a sigh of sweet relief in just a little over two months, baseball season will be following on her heels, and flip flop season will be strolling in right after that. And by then this dreadful winter will be nothing more than a bad memory.
And if that stupid groundhog tries to tell me otherwise a few weeks from now–if he even thinks about predicting another six weeks of this nonsense–then there’s a very good chance I’ll be stomping my boots all the way to Pennsylvania to force feed him woolly worms and persimmons before using his fat little body to wrap ever-so-tightly around the neck of one Old Man.
(And to all my friends in the northern states and Canada, my apologies for being such a whiner. I truly do not understand how–or for Heaven’s sake why–you tolerate this nonsense every year.)
The woods were “lovely, dark and deep” following our first snowfall . . .
Icicles hanging from bluffs on a creek near our home . . .
And one little droplet falling from one little icicle . . .
A male cardinal munching on stolen dog food . . .
A blue jay playing peek-a-boo . . .
And a “fire and ice” sunset over the lake.
To see even more of my photos, you can “like” my new Facebook page, Iced Tea with Lemon–Prints and Prose by Karen S. Eubank.