A matter of degrees

February 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

A favorite way to end the day is sitting by the fireplace. And my dog lies next to me. I can hear her steady breathing and it reminds me that there is life that loves me in this world.

I draw close to the fireplace because I crave the variations of heat and cold. Coming in from a winter’s walk and feeling, so distinctly, your cheeks prickling into a red flush. Taking a cup of almost-too-hot tea into hands just un-numbing.

I miss this.

Colorado is not cold enough for long enough, on this Front Range where I live. Snow falls and stays in the mountains, but down here it melts almost immediately. I long for my Midwest and its high snowdrifts. Climbing over hills of snow to get to streets and cars. Such is the adventure of this time of year.

I just finished reading an article in Saveur magazine about maple-sugaring in Quebec. I’ve wanted to go sugaring ever since reading Virginia Sorensen’s wonderful Miracles on Maple Hill. The article fully revived that desire . . . right alongside the one to go back to snowier climes.

To get so cold it starts to become unpleasant – and then to go into that hot sugar-house.

What an alive feeling.

The sparkle! The crystals! Snow and sugar. The tingle of temperatures changing. The body adjusting, intentionally adapting to its different environments.

I am a girl of the Upper Midwest. I love my wild winters. Though, I confess, I can only enjoy the cold with enough indulgence in its opposite. So even though it’s a mild season here in Colorado, with change that is less extreme and less interesting, still I am sitting with this fireplace making my shirt hot, and my shirt pressing into my back, and me pulling away just a little from that comforting burn.

And when I go to let the dogs out before bedtime, it will feel good and cool outside. Then into fleece and flannel bedding. And sleep. In warmth and winter.


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