"How cold is it there?" a faraway friend asked after seeing news reports of the frigid temperatures hitting the eastern part of the U.S. "Is it as bad as last year?"
Hmmm. Now that's a good question. For us, the winter of 2014 began two days before Christmas 2013, when our city lost power -- in Rick's case, for 10 days. I was one of the few who didn't lose it (dilemma: Is turning on your Christmas lights like rubbing peoples' faces in it, or does it provide a little light of hope and cheer at a dark holiday time?)
Our wind chills had been in the -30s (F) and the daytimes barely above zero -- if it made it that high. Even after the power returned, the temps stayed cold and the snow kept piling up, creating records throughout our state and in much of the country.
So, I guess I shouldn't complain about -15 or -20 wind chill and official temps above zero. Like seven. Or four. Or maybe that warm day when it got to 14 degrees. This winter of 2015 is not cozy, to be sure.
When I see the news about what is going on in the East, I should be ashamed of being a wimpy winter girl. We do not have more than two feet of snow. We probably have about 18 inches. Maybe more, maybe less, depending on the drifts. My very nice neighbor is happy to earn a few bucks snowblowing my driveway and after our last foot-high snowstorm, they even plowed my street -- a rarity in my neighborhood. There have been no runs on water or food at the grocery store, I don't need to put a bookcase or chair to reserve a parking spot on the street and I can afford to heat my house. Some people can't. So, suck it up, Buttercup!
But it is cold, no getting around that one. Lizzie has taken over the house radiators. When I can't find her, I simply look for the heat sources and she's generally there. The birds are scrambling for seed. They don't seem to be eating the suet I put out though -- I have a bad feeling it is frozen and they can't get it to break apart. The snow crunches when you step on it -- not a bad sound, really. It would be rather nice if it wasn't so darned cold!
No one I know has touched tongue to flagpole this year but I suspect any moisture would freeze close to contact. You've seen the odd footprint photos in this post. (Yes, footprints, not abstract art). A recent visit to Detroit for the symphony found us parked a (very cold) block away -- really, a wonderful parking spot, free (can you believe it?) and on the street. As we walked toward Symphony Hall I couldn't help but notice these footprints (because I was looking down so I didn't step on the ice patches and go down myself!).
Footprints. Frozen on cement. I'm trying to figure out how this happened. Wet shoes touching on contact? The indentations of feet on ice -- then shallower parts of ice melted leaving the print? It is a mystery.
Yet they were magical in their own odd way. To me it said "Someone has been here before you, recently, on this side street in downtown Detroit where the media would tell you no one ever goes. They walked this street between Cass (where the 1967 riots broke out) and Woodward (once the gleaming main drag of a vibrant city that is trying desperately to come back. Maybe it was a symphony musician en route to rehearsal or someone who found the free parking and was headed to work. Yes, there are places in Detroit where people work.
It was a sign of cold, to be sure. But in its own small way, also a sign of hope. And when it's hard to get the temps above zero, hope is what we all need.
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