02.09.14 The state was full of broken records this past week. Ours was -21 and brutal temperatures of -48 were recorded elsewhere. Schools were closed and one of the universities ran out of natural gas for heat. We sheltered in place here at my house for three days. I could have stayed in my pajamas the entire time. I loved the slow, meandering pace of the day. Flocks of coots floated by at the shoreline, and a big black eagle regularly caught my eye, flying low over the water in hopes of plucking one of them for dinner. The breakfast nook was warm and cozy with the baseboard heat turned on, and I watched ice forming on the lake and wisps of fog blowing through the trees. On Thursday, for the first time in fifteen years, conditions were right for the lake to freeze over. A light bitter cold wind blew over the surface, making it extremely cold. Then, as is required for ice, the lake went calm and it turned to glass. But Friday morning, ripples developed for as far as I could see, and the ice broke up into pieces. On Saturday, temperatures rose above zero finally, and the moment was gone.
Now we are back to the February doldrums. Time to bundle up, put on the yaktrax, and get out for a run or a ski. Stuff the hot chocolate mix and shortbread cookies to the back of the cabinet and make a clear vegetable soup instead of potato, cheddar and bacon stew. Do some housecleaning, take out the trash, and cut back on beer and movie-watching. And continue to complain about cold and the relentless winter.