Friday, February 7, 2014

Day 168 of the Winterama

Let me begin: I live in the south, and more specifically, in the Ozark Hills of Arkansas where idyllic outdoorsy wonderlands began. We are people accustomed to humidity, mosquitoes, tornadoes, and flip flops. Winter is simply the novelty month that stitches together the cool crisp colors of autumn with the rainy green squishy-ness of spring. Our winter has us reveling in making a pot of chili and building our one fire in the fireplace. Snow flurries usually send many of my fellow southerners into a frenzy, scavenging for the last supplies of bread and milk in the region. I've still no idea what we do with all that milk and bread, but we buy it in bulk before every predicted snow like its our job, much like the way we all grow tomatoes in summer when we have no need for three truckloads of tomatoes. Its our DNA. We can't help it.

A southern snow storm is an event that last, at most, 24 hours. A few hours of "oh, the pretty flakes" are followed by nervous drives to work, ending with hours of discussion with co-workers which detail every moment of our snow-bound journey to the office through one inch of snow. Blow. By. Blow. The snow melts somewhere in the middle of the fifth telling of our tale, and the drive home is clear and warmer. Such is the pattern of a southern snow storm. It goes faster than our stories.

But this year -- oh, this year -- has us lost in utter confusion. Winter began on December 5 with several inches of snow and has taken few breaks since then. We haven't seen the grass in over a week. It's been below freezing for nearly a month, and our faucets are set on perpetual trickle to prevent frozen pipes.

We are tired of eating chili and know no other wintertime food because we never needed to know more than chili. Winter has never lasted this long before. Shivering people wander the grocery store aisles, muttering from beneath seven layers of clothing, and habitually grab milk and bread from the shelves. We don't even understand why we do it anymore. We do it because it's all we know to do. This winter has dished out more than we can handle. We are not equipped for this. We are a lost people. Covered in snow with perpetually frosted extremities, we wander through our days reminiscing about what the sun used to look like and fondly remember how it felt to wear shorts.

Our snow shoveling skills are improving, much to our dismay. We never yearned for such skills and used to shake our heads at television news reports showing New Englanders pushing show with metal-ended sticks. Give us a tornado, and we know how to respond quickly, like a well-choreographed ballet. Give us 100+ degree temperatures, and we open the fire hydrants and break out the swimsuits. But we don't do winter well.

So here I sit at the end of yet another week of frozen existence where a walk to the mailbox is a life or death choice. More snow is predicted for next week, and I have run out of cheery banter about the frigidness of our weather. It's not funny anymore. This morning I dreamed of mosquitoes. That is a sure sign of mental anguish over this whole winter thing.

Stella and George's eyes say it all: "Mom, these sweaters are getting old."
It's only February 7, and winter has five official weeks left but we, as a people, are dwindling fast. Nerves are frayed, tempers are short, and our southern charm ran out three weeks ago. Near-stampedes have occurred as we run outside for the five minutes of sunlight that peaks through the gray skies. We are desperate. And cold. We're really cold. Deliriously cold. C'mon -- I dreamed of mosquitoes. We are deliriously cold! It may be too late for us.

You cannot move a tropical creature to the Arctic and expect no consequences. You cannot surround a southerner with unrelenting winter weather and expect the same person at the end as when you began. We are not cut out for this. We have met our match. Old Man Winter has won. He beat us.

Wait . . . what's that? It's snowing again? Oh, crap . . .


  1. oh my goodness....stay warm dear!!

  2. Stay Warm - Stay Safe -- Loved this post, Rita ... Xx

    1. Thank you, Kristine! It's 40 degrees today, so we are all much happier. Good thing, too, because we've run out of chili. :-) xoxo


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