By the time this reaches print, there will probably be warm, sunny days. Streams will babble and birds will sing their little brains out. Maybe some of the snow on our yard will have melted, although that’s pushing it. Our lawn remains mostly white well into April and some snow hangs on even until May. This is a fact because I have, for years, recorded the day the last patch dissolves into the soggy leaves of the previous fall. No matter what kind of winter we have had, cold or mild, snowy or not, the last patch of snow clings to a spot behind the garage until May 5, which is also the day the black flies arrive.
A week ago, as I returned from my daily walk, I announced that I had never been so cold in my life. Well, there was the time I stood by a ski slope in gale winds at –25°. I remember keeping my eyes closed in fear they might freeze up. I think the chill factor that day was off the charts. Then there was the football game where the cherry tomatoes for our tailgate party froze solid, as did our feet.
There is a nameless hill in front of our house that manages to block the sun for most of the day, any day. Right now, in barely mid afternoon, no sun shines on our frozen white acreage, and I look out the back window at Putney Mountain that looks downright tropical as it melts and thaws. Grassy Brook is starting to gurgle, and occasionally even roar a little. Our brook remains silent, solid ice.
Last week we bundled up, stoked the fires and poured the tea for a viewing of “March of the Penguins.” That was a mistake. We should have watched “Lawrence of Arabia.”
I find the cold weather makes me want to eat, mostly bad things. Show me something that’s been fried and salted and I’m weak with desire. I make food deals: If I shovel the deck, I deserve a peanut butter sandwich. I vow to eat nothing but salads when warm weather returns. I also nap a lot.
I’m sick of spending 10 minutes getting on my gear for a simple walk. I anticipate the joy of running out the door in shorts and T-shirt. I want to wear flip-flops.
I’ve had enough of the hum of the humidifier that gets louder as the days go by. The furnace blower reminds me that the wood is getting low. The burner kicks on to make sure we remember the price of oil continues to skyrocket.
Friends disappear for weeks at a time, and then show up with tans. I know where they’ve been: They’ve been to Florida. I can’t bear to look at them.
My car, which starts these days only when it feels like it, is covered with salt and mud.
My hair is straight and my skin feels sore. My bones ache. If I had a dog, I would probably be mean to it.
It’s time for winter to let go.