It’s been in the single digits for days now. Minnesota cold, John keeps saying.
On the phone with family and friends, I try to describe the frigidity. Waking up to temperatures below zero and the way it stings your face, lungs, and teeth. Sheets of ice crystals on the original windows of our old house. Remembering youth, when this sort of cold required us to coddle our car batteries, keep them warm enough to start the next morning. Though we’ve seen some cars in the neighborhood plugged into heaters, our cars get no such attention. They’re starting right up but registering their complaint through intermittent dash display lights asking to be serviced.
We finally stacked a pile of firewood, a job we did quickly, a race against too numb fingers. It’s the best sort of riches, the delicious possibility of all those fires. Even better, coming inside from this kind of cold to sit next to that warmth.
Since the weather turned, I’ve carried in my head a poem by Joe Green, one he and Marquita sent to us as a holiday card, hot off their own printing press, a few years ago.The Longest Night Ice on the sidewalk. The first dusting of snow lasting a week on your deck. Perhaps tonight you’ve even left the faucet dripping in your kitchen sink to keep the pipes from seizing. Think of this weather as winter’s fist adjusting its grip around the hours. Then go outside and try to collect all the lost particles of light around your sleeping house.