January 23, 2014

This morning

The past three mornings have been well below zero. -24, -30, and -10 respectively. Eek! It is currently 4 below and we have high hopes for warmer days. At least for two days of snow, which are followed by more below zero temps. Cold, cold mornings in winter all look the same. The sky perfectly clear, the sunrise every shade of pearly pastel, smoke rising slowly from the chimneys, having a hard time overcoming the oppressive weight of the cold. Everything seems pure, somehow. Like anything sordid is frozen to nothingness. I love these mornings. As long as Justin's truck decides to start. After bundling the girls onto the bus, I sit in a warm house sipping tea and plan my day. I am so lucky. I feel a bit....well part of the 1% when I say stuff like that. A lot of people have to go out and struggle through the day in this kind of weather. People are miserable getting into and out of their cars. People are waking up in the dark and shivering their way to the barn where they feel every draft from the cracked windows and haymow entrances. People miss work because vehicles won't start or air hoses won't power their power tools. And worse, people are cold in their houses because they don't have heat. Enjoying bitter cold mornings is a luxury afforded to those of us who stay warm inside.


But I do remember those mornings when I wasn't warm inside. Mornings when going out to the barn seemed to go against every ounce of the scant bit better judgement I possessed as a teenager. Those mornings. In the dark. When the cold took your breath away and made your lungs and nose ache. When you were half asleep and you felt the cold worse than normal. When you walked into the barn that was only slightly warm. At 20 degrees, cows do a great job of keeping a barn warm with their body heat. At 20 below, they are needing a little back up. I used to give myself pep talks. "Feeling the cold is a mental thing. Just stop thinking about it!" Which never did too much, but made me feel better. If you are giving yourself pep talks, you haven't died of the cold yet. There is nothing energy efficient about single paned windows, barn doors, haymow chutes, concrete, or having to raise the huge door to move the tractor out a bit to clean the gutter. The tractor never wanted to start when it got that cold. The smell of ether would mix with Ty's singing and muttered "Piece of junk!"s and "Cotten-pickin'!"s Finally things got sorted out, the sun came came up, and milking was done. Rubbing bag balm onto my chapped hands, I would head inside to shower quick before school. If I didn't have time to do my hair before I had to leave, my hair would freeze into frosty sticks.


Those mornings seemed miserable. But nothing made us love the mornings we didn't have to go out like those mornings. Hearing Dad call for Lindsey instead of me and snuggling down into my eiderdown and flannel was glorious. Those mornings are part of the reason I enjoy my warmth so much now. I remember what it feels like to leave it. It is precious, this warmth. 



Geri Douglas said...

Bet you brought a lot of my own forgotten memories back of my youth. I remember the sound of my dad lighting the wood stove in the kitchen. The smell of wood smoke. The old house on Churchill had no insulation. The floor in the kitchen was so cold there was ice on it. Dad would yell when it was warm enough to come down stairs. If I had of known of the poem of Sam McGee I might of quoted it quite often. I love warmth!!

Evan and Clover and Co. said...

I think you meant "Dad calling for Clover". Cause I was the one who always milked on those mornings.

Jolene Crites said...

Ain't that the truth! I do not like mornings - usually because it's so stinkin' cold!