Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hibernation inclination


I do enjoy being outside in the cold
but shoveling day and night has got me thinking
about burrowing deep into a snowbank until spring.

In the silence with the tea


You know, the indoors aren’t such a bad thing. I know I've been pushing to get outside and find ways to enjoy and thrive in the cold and snow, and while I do really believe that’s important to do, the relentless arctic assault has made that admittedly challenging this year. As a result, I’ve spent a lot more time inside.

I still slip into long underwear and a wool hat the moment I crawl out of bed, but that’s just because the heating bill is breaking my back, so I keep the thermostat down. I still fumble at the coffee pot first thing in the morning and chomp down a hot breakfast of oatmeal, but that’s just to work up the nerve to go out and shovel.

I’ve been saying “It’s either blistering cold or a fresh six inches of snow, there’s no middle ground out there,” all winter long. The problem is I’m continually right. There have been days (many, many days) this winter where I've shoveled not once, not twice, but thrice in the same day, only to get up and do it again first thing in the morning.

There have even been cases where we’ve been expecting guests up to the house, so I go out and clear off the walk in advance of their arrival, only to have them tramping in clots of snow because the wind was blowing so hard it covered everything back up within 20 minutes.

 I’m starting to weigh the benefits of simply standing on the porch with a shovel all day...

Some days it’s all I can do to run the snowblower down the driveway making tracks enough for the cars to get out in the morning. I mean I don’t mind shoveling and moving snow around all that much, but when it’s every single day, and you either bite the bullet and layer up for 20 minutes or suffer frozen extremities, it starts to wear on you.

Side note, I need new gloves. I’ve worn holes in both index fingers from overuse and it’s hardly February.

It’s days like these when holding a hot cup of tea in your hands before bed is perhaps the finest of life’s little qualities. If there’s one wonder to 30 inches of snow piled up outside it must the silence. Ohhh the silence.

At night it’s as though the whole world is shut off, powered down, unplugged. You can listen to the pure, golden quiet (minus the occasional house cracking sounds) and let the frozen tundra outside melt away in your mind for a bit. I treasure those nights. They give me a sense of recognition.

Sometimes I just sit under heaps of blankets and stare at the wall, blissfully paralyzed by the knowledge I do not have to shovel for a couple hours.

The whole thing puts me in a restive state. I get to unload all my worries and problems and thoughts of frozen fingertips and just be me. Sometimes I think that’s what makes it all worth it - quiet moments when my entire life makes sense.

All I want to do is nothing for awhile, nothing but be still and warm and doze off into a simple hibernation for a few months. Tomorrow is always on the horizon (so is May), but I’ll worry about that later. Tonight I’ve got a hot cup of tea and the dog is snoring peacefully. Let it snow, I guess.

See you out there,
A woodsman in training.

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