Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Answer is Snow (Richmond, VA)

One of the reasons I moved south is so I could escape the cold. By the time I'd escaped from college winters in the Snowbelt, I'd already had enough of frigid temperatures, slipping on ice, falling on snow, and watching the streets turn from a brilliant white blanket to brackish, blackish mush.

Here I sit in my kitchen, looking out on a landscape that only Nanook of the North would find inviting. It's the second day that I've been forced to remain at home without any excuse to save me from cleaning my room, doing the laundry, catching up on stuff I've let slide since returning to work at summer's end.

I am not a happy camper. I could be zumbaing. I could be out and about, chatting with friends and strangers, sipping hot tea in a toasty cafe, instead of freezing my tuchis off in my frigid abode. The heat isn't working at all in several rooms; the upstairs bathroom, the study that separates it from my bedroom, and the kitchen are all extensions of the ice box. The temperature won't rise above 61 degrees F in the rest of the house.

I'm wearing so many layers that I can't turn my head. My nose is red and my hands and feet are so cold that I would stick them all under my armpits, if the layers of clothing would permit any bending of joints or reaching of extremities. My only consolation is that they say that people in cold climates live longer. This probably means that I've got an extra 2.5 seconds, if I don't freeze to death first.

As I waddle to the window, I must confess that the tundra-ish appearance of my backyard lends a dash of glamor to the usually barren landscape. Snow drifts hide the piles of brick, the compost heap, the remnant of a garden that never flourished because vegetables need sunlight, and there is none behind our house and under the shade of the neighboring yard's tree.

It's quiet and beautiful and still. Yet I continue to feel that snow is best when it's far away. If you want to visit it or watch it in a movie, be my guest. In the meantime, if you want to be my guest, bring sweaters, mittens, and blankets.

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