Polar Vortex: Rerun

January 24, 2014

Gracious Living Day by DayThis is what my bedroom window looked like this morning:

Frozen Window

Our house is old and the windows are old, but still, I have not seen frost designs this intricate since I was a child. Outside, the thermometer registered -9 F. And this is not even the coldest it’s been this winter.

The roads are slippery and dangerous, the news filled with stories of car accidents. We worry if we have to drive to the airport  or anywhere outside the city. We venture outdoors mostly for necessities: going to work, grocery shopping, a trip to the drugstore.  I haven’t gone for a walk around our neighborhood in weeks.

This is the kind of winter I have always associated with Michigan climate, even though, really, it hasn’t been this cold in over twenty years. It’s depressing and punishing to be indoors for such unrelentingly extended periods and we are all feeling touches of claustrophobia.

And yet, there are moments when I intensely enjoy this cold, cold winter.

I enjoy early mornings while lying in bed, reading and sipping hot coffee, my window slowly revealing magical icy tales as the weak morning light works hard to push aside the darkness. In the afternoons, I fold my hands around a cup of tea to warm my icy fingers and watch a flock of tenacious sparrows attacking the bird feeder. In the evenings, I tightly pull the curtains, shutting out the darkness and encompassing my family within the warm light of the dinning room chandelier while we gather for dinner.

The thick snow cover shrouds the world and all is stillness and noiselessness and calm. It’s very peaceful to be lulled into this cold silence. It’s restful.

And even as I complain to everyone who’ll listen about how difficult the pursuit of everyday routines this very cold winter is, I appreciate the time out. I need a respite from the pace of modern rhythm and an escape into my inner world. We all do.

I must say that I am almost surprised to have embraced this polar vortex for the precious gift that it is.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosanna January 25, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Dear Liliana,

#1) Hi!! With Jack and I living here in (*C.*O.*L.*D.*!!) Rural Central Pennsylvania………… (i.e., at times this Winter, below-zero at night, but not quite as FAR below-zero as where you and Jeff live in Michigan!!)………… I think all of the local residents of Centre County ~ (including me!!) ~ also just have a real bad case of CABIN FEVER, too!!

In Michigan, with it not being this cold in over *20 YEARS*………… and with this type of Winter occurring here about once every *10 YEARS*………… I ~ (like you!!) ~ am VERY ready for Spring, although I’m fervently trying, Liliana, to………… *savor and appreciate*………… this Deep-Freeze Time Of The Year, too!!

#2) Incidentally, in the early 1970s, we lived in Grand Forks, ND, for approximately 5 years, and………… (surreally, haha!!)………… we honeymooned in Fargo, ND, in early FEBRUARY………… so when I re-read your February 17, 2012, post “Serbia Snowed In” about how the snowed-in fields………… (i.e., outside of the small Serbian town of Backa Palanka, where your cousin Maja and her family live)………… “remind me of Fargo, ND”………… well, it brought back many *r.o.m.a.n.t.i.c.* memories!!

#3) Thank you so, SO much, Liliana, for reminding me that this time of the year truly/legitimately/no-kidding………… *IS*………… (as, really, any other Season of the year is)………… A “Precious Gift”!! Thank you.

Warmly, (“Warmly”?? “Coldly” would be totally tacky, but “Warmly”??—-i.e., NOW, in this meat-locker-cold weather??!! Haha!!)

Rosanna

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Liliana January 27, 2014 at 8:38 am

Keep warm, dear friend.
Thanks for your lovely stories. I visited North Dakota once and remember it as a very, very cold place. No trees to soften the wind.

This year Serbia has been experiencing an unusually warm winter. My cousin Maja tells me that snowdrops have started coming out and fruit trees are starting to bloom. This is very bad, since next week the cold spell is heading in their direction …

Lots of hugs,
L.

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