I've been missing winter. I was telling a Southerner last week that it didn't feel right to me as a Northerner to go through winter without experiencing a proper, bone chilling deep freeze. Then I told him about the winter when they shut down the university for a couple weeks and the roads were like snow tunnels, and the winter when a dog in Matt's town ran over the frozen Straits of Mackinac and was found on the Island.
Blizzards of years past raced through my mind and I remembered them with fondness.
I didn't even tell him about the annual Kalamazoo or Boston blizzards when we stocked up on supplies and didn't leave the house for days (gladly), or the winter overnight hiking trip I took up to Carter Notch in New Hampshire and helped carry buckets of water from the frozen lake up to the cabin for dinner, or the winter trip we took to Quebec City and saw snow piled so high we couldn't see 2-story houses as we drove by. That was the trip where we drove out to visit some sled dogs, and then through a turn of events, we adopted this girl a few months later.
This weekend, we all drove North. Matt went to play in a hockey tournament on a frozen lake. The weather hasn't been cold enough for the Straits to freeze over this year, which is where they have held the event in years past. I took the dog and retreated for a couple days to wrap my head around a heap of dissertation data I need to present on and write about soon.
Saturday we woke up to 5 fresh inches. The dog spent as much time as possible wriggling in snow piles and we took long walks on the frozen lake. We shared the lake with ice fishermen, snowmobiles, and pickup trucks. I think we were the only ladies around. Out on that lake, I thought about everyone I know who is escaping to palm trees right now or wanting to escape. I get it. That January week we spent in Puerto Rico several years ago is a fond memory too. I thought about how harsh winter can be and even lonely, but on quiet weekends when the snow and ice is sparkling, the muted landscape and cold air slows me just enough that I take a deep breath and realize I am still very much alive.