Sunday, January 8, 2017

Michigan's Really Cold

I don't know where you are right now, but I'm in Michigan. And I don't know when you're reading this, but I'm writing this in January on yet another day when the temperature failed to reach 20 degrees. 

It's been this way for days. One day last week was so bitterly cold that as I was crossing a parking lot on foot I couldn't stop sputtering the F-word over and over into my winter scarf followed by the word me.   

It was the kind of day where even snowmen throw their branch arms into the sky and scream, but we can't hear them under our ear-muffs. 

The parking lot was large and there was no one around and it hit me that if I fell, I could be one dead little mitten before anyone found me - a sorry metaphor for the state in which I lived and now had died.  

As to me swearing my way across that parking lot, I'm not proud of that; I like to think I can "use my words" better than that. However, on that particular day there didn't seem to be any way around it. Spewing "F me" all the way across that empty lot felt like the only way to propel myself fast enough to out-shuffle Death should he happen to be after me, which it seemed he was. But here's the good thing: it was so cold that if Death was stupid enough to get out on a day like that, he would be shuffling too, so I felt relatively safe provided I didn't fall. 

This morning I woke up and checked my Facebook feed. In it was a post from my friend Pat, who lives in Australia. It read: "Today it reached a high of 95. We have a beautiful breeze that comes in through our front windows. No need for the air conditioner."

I replied, "And I thought you were my friend," then wished for a plague of kangaroos to stomp all over her Bloomin' Onions or whatever it is that grows in Australian gardens in the summertime. 

I grew up in Michigan; I knew what I was in for when I moved back here from Maryland a few years ago. Still, shortly before my return I had a nightmare about Michigan in the winter, one where I was trapped outside surrounded by nothing but frozen tundra - assuming there's any other kind - and asking myself over and over, 'Why am I here?' It was a rhetorical question obviously but it does have three good answers: Michigan in the spring, Michigan in the summer and Michigan in the fall. To get to them, you've got to get through Michigan in the winter. 

So, despite all my cursing I am at peace knowing that spring will arrive in roughly 70 days, four hours and 27 minutes. And that it will take at least half that amount of time to thaw me out again.