After I posted on facebook last week that it was 5 degrees fahrenheit, a Jakarta friend responded with the question, "What does that even feel like?"
Even though I think I gave a smug answer and reminisced about a dip in the KCV pool, I've thought about the question all week long. And here's my answer.
The air grabs me. Steals my breath with the shock. In just the few seconds it takes to shuffle from the front door to the car, my fingers ache, even inside my gloves. I turn the car on and watch the dial, waiting for the magical moment when the needle moves slightly higher than the C...I then turn on the warm air and wait for relief. My skin prickles in the moments between cold and warm. Dry. Itchy. Brittle.
But there are beautiful moments too...
As Madi, Elise and I drive back from Leesburg on President's Day, the sun has set and snow falls. It is not the large, gentle flakes. Instead, the air holds a dense mist of snow. Millions of minuscule snowflakes sparkle like a sky full of silver glitter. Fairy dust. The snow swirls in white patterns against the black asphalt like water in a river. It curves, ripples, and twirls.
We spend our days fighting the cold. I slam the door shut behind me when entering the house, trying to trap in the warm. With the furnace out (of course!) we bundle in wool sweaters and socks. We cuddle and spark. We hover near the fire until our backsides are too hot, and we turn ourselves like marshmallows on a stick, trying to get each surface perfectly toasted. We take turns propping our feet up near the small electric heater.
In the morning, the neighborhood sits quietly under the white blanket. The sky is brighter. But the world is softer somehow. We go for a walk, our boots crunching the snow. Madi hates the sound. She says it makes her teeth hurt and reminds her of biting a towel. I love the footprints. I love the time between each crunch. The hush of the world.
In the past six months, our family has had little "slowdown" time. I sometimes think one of the ways we've coped with the transition is to fill our calendars too full...giving us very little time to think about what me miss or how things have changed. But the cold has altered our schedule. We linger, we pause, we talk about non-essential things and realize perhaps they ARE the essential things. I hold Charlotte in my arms. I read books aloud to the youngest three and say "yes" to their pleas of "one more chapter!" Later, Madi, Elise, and I read silently snuggling together in my bed with extra covers.
Here are some "Cold" moments: Owen with his snowblower.
Amelia's selfie in the cold!
Madie and Elise Pre-snow-run
What does cold feel like? It hurts - quite brutally painful. But it is wonderfully beautiful too.