Yesterday the temperature got into the upper 40s. The 40s probably doesn’t sound warm to most people, but when you were raised in the Uintah Basin like I was, and winter brings back the memories of:
Our car refusing to start because it got to -40 (yes minus 40) in the night. Of course when the car doesn’t start that means the little kiddos – myself among them – get to walk to school.
Those walks. Where my hair was still damp because I never could really gather myself in a timely fashion in the morning. By the time I got to school my snot was frozen to my nose hair and my hair was frozen solid.
Our wood burning stove that made our entire house smell like burnt bacon but I didn’t care because I could curl up next to it and actually feel warm.
The buckets of water that sat on top of the wood burning stove – boiling up moisture into the dry arid air. And Dad making me pour the buckets into my bath water so “save a few bucks” in hot water bills. Don’t you know the biggest expense of taking a bath is the energy it takes to heat up the water, not the water itself?
But the thing I remember most about winter has always been the arrival of spring. When the sun shines and the mercury rises and I walk outside to bask in it. As my soul starts to thaw I realize how paralyzed I have been by the winter. It isn’t until my core starts to wake up that I realize I have been sleep walking through the last few months.
Once a friend (trying to be helpful) told me that what I needed to do was find some activities that I like to do outside in the winter so that I could have a fun, enjoyable, reason to endure winter. I told him that winter is like the famous saying about peas.
I’m glad I don’t like peas. Because if I liked them, I would eat them. And if I ate them that would be gross because I don’t like peas.
If I were outside playing in the snow, someone might think I was enjoying myself. And I don’t want anyone to be confused here. Because I hate winter. And snow. And cold. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. SO NO, I don’t go outside and “play” in the snow. The best thing about winter is the onset of spring.
All this to say that yesterday when the sun was shining and the temperature was in the upper 40s, the inversion was absent, and the air was fresh and clear, we all decided it was time to get out. Riley hopped on his scooter, Casey on his bike, and Kim and I walked along behind them soaking up the sun rays. Cold. But pretending it was warmer than it was.
As we rounded a corner a block or so from our house we saw a giant bird perched on the highest branch of a neighbor’s tree. This was the biggest, fattest bird perched on the teeniest tiniest limb. But it was the highest limb and I could just imagine the bird deciding whether or not the limb would hold….”Well it’s worth a try….it’s at least a foot closer to this amazing ball of warmth than any other branch here.” Anyway, we all pointed to the bird and started talking about how big it was. where it was perched etc.
Then they were racing away on their scooter and bike again.
It seems that the more educated I become, the more fundamental common sense I lose. Luckily they were out of earshot when I commented, “I wonder if that bird is pregnant, it’s so big.”
Kim just looked at me, “Really? ”
Um, yah, I’m just glad my four year old was now a hundred yards ahead of me, I didn’t need my toddler telling me that birds lay eggs.
Crisis diverted. My toddler still thinks I’m smart – at least for now.
And the moral of this cautionary tale is a lesson I thought I had learned a long time ago but the bird served as a reminder –
if you have to ask if someone is pregnant, it’s best to just remain quiet.