I don’t do cold weather, y’all.
I mean like really. I don’t.
Give me a sweltering day, a big old thunderstorm, a tornado even, I can handle all that. I know how to make do. Just please don’t abandon me to the frozen tundra.
Most people think of hell as a fiery lake. I think of it as a frozen one.
It’s 15 degrees out this morning. Our high today is expected to reach 24. We’ve had weeks of a landscape of whiteness already. It’s like living inside of a snow globe – I don’t move until something shakes me. A dog that needs out. A doorbell ringing. The urge to pee that cannot be denied any longer.
Lord God, have mercy. No matter how long I reside outside of my beloved South, I will never grow accustomed to these tombstone winters where the only thing moving are birds in search of sustenance.
One of the things I usually like best about living here beside the mighty Columbia is that our winters are short. On a typical winter, we get two weeks of snow and temps in the 20s.
This is no typical winter. I feel like Edmund encountering the White Witch of Narnia. Everything is wonky. Creatures unknown are burrowing into the crevices of the house, trying their darndest to stay alive. All three dogs want to sit in my lap or crawl underneath the covers.
My kids text to tell me when they are leaving for work and when they arrive because the roads are slick as Eric Trump’s greasy hair. Just today the Oregonian reported that two women were killed following a one-vehicle accident. They didn’t die from the crash, which was likely from those slick roads, but from then jumping over a barrier and falling to their deaths. In the darkness and fear, they mistook the dropoff for terra firma. Their poor families. Those poor women. Awful, awful.
I have this theory that isn’t based in all in fact that I know of (not that ever stopped anyone including me from forming an opinion) that more people die in the winter than any other time of the year. That’s another reason why I don’t like winter. And if you have ever seen a dead person up close and personal, you know they all look like they are frozen. I guess that’s why cremation doesn’t really bother me none. I’d rather be hot than cold. (Well, truth be told, I’d rather not die at all but that’s not really an option now, is it?)
I don’t like wearing layers of clothes. I hate it, in fact. I’m not a petite woman. Putting on all those layers of clothes makes me feel like the Michelin Tire guy. I much prefer to wear sheath dresses and flip-flops. I might still look like the Michelin Tire guy in those, too, but in my mind’s eye, I look a lot like Helen Mirren, elegant and sassy.
Sassy is hard to pull off when you are dressed like a Russian peasant pulling guard duty at the Kremlin.
And the thing is, I don’t even have Downton Abbey or the wisdom of Maggie Smith to distract or cheer me. Instead, to get through the harshest winter since 1984, I’m binge-watching Madam Secretary and pretending Donald Trump has been cryogenically frozen and is endlessly floating in the black abyss between Moscow and the Death Star.
I stood at the back door yesterday and watched as our beagle (whom I have had a love and mostly hate relationship with since that day he bit off my nose – yes, really), stretched out in the crushed ice covering the back yard and peed. I feared his wanger might get stuck there like a tongue on a frozen pole. I think he feared it too, judging by the look of sheer terror in his eyes. His Archie Bunker belly drags even in high grass, so you can imagine how difficult it is for him to relieve himself in inches of snow. I almost felt sorry for him until I got to thinking about how it kinda served him right after what he did to me that long-ago summer’s day.
I’m plum near giddy to live in a house with indoor plumbing and a working heater.
I’m thankful for books to read and a treadmill to work out on.
And for you, readers, friends. I’m always thankful that you join me in this journey of words and stories.
Bundle up. Sing the songs that warm you. And, for pity’s sake, don’t squat in the snow.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Burdy (Mercer University Press) and the forthcoming Christian Bend (MUP).