The wind is howling like a starving dog at the harvest moon, desperate and ghostly. Snow is spinning against the grey horizon. Ice clings to naked twigs and forms narrow droplets frozen in time. The wind chill is in the negative teens and the hidden sun provides no warmth.
Yet, our southern hardiness pushes us outside, to brave the bitter cold so that we can experience the wonders of a white world, an rare event at our latitude. Even with blizzard conditions, the hill at the park is filled with anxious sleds, red smiling faces, and laughter. All types of 4 by 4s journey to the streets; vehicles that are too big to be daily drivers, venture out for the opportunity to show off their over sized tires and loud engines. Young people bring out not only their sleds, but also their skis and snowboards. If they have no such winter accessories, they slide on trash can lids and plastic storage boxes. Last year I saw a flat bottom boat to the sledding hill but found it was too heavy to slide. This year I saw a kayak tied with a rope to the back of a new Camry; but when the car started sliding backwards on a hill, daring to run over the person ride behind, the cops shut down their fun.
Despite all the people exploring the frozen world, stores, shops, and schools close. Shopping centers, parking lots, and sprawling industrial areas are as quiet as ghost towns. At night no traffic touches the treacherous roads. Sometimes, when there are power outages, the darkness reveals the stars. Without televisions to distract or jobs to hurry off to, people read books to their children, tell stories near the fire, and visit friends who do not have electric heat. Cold weather can open hearts. The "bad" weather brings out the best of the city.
- Roslyn Imrie
- I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.