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.