Thursday, January 17, 2008


Temperatures dipped last night below the zero mark, and an Alberta clipper zipped across the state prompting snow to fall and swirling the flakes across fields, roads, and streets. I adjust the thermostat, burn a log in the fireplace, and simmer a pot of soup.

But wintering is more than survival.
It's savoring the season of cold and snow.

It's a sleigh ride listening to the squeak of runners on the snow and to the jingle of bells on horse harness. Bundled in stocking caps and mittens, zipped in thick jackets, and nestled under lap robes, I, my husband, and my grandchildren keep cozy warm during a ride along the river. We scan the pattern of trees' bare limbs and winding river bank. Squirrels cavort and wild turkeys strut. Afterward we sip hot chocolate and talk about what we've seen.

My grandchildren enjoy taking their tobaggon or plastic dish sled to Dike West, a man made heap of dirt that protects from spring flooding. It's height and slope are perfect for a heady ride.

Wintering begs for visits to the library to choose books and movies. Add these to games like Trouble, Chutes and Ladders, checkers, and Scrabble for grand entertainment indoors. My husband loves to challenge children and adults to Carom, his favorite childhood game. He's so good at this version of table pool that the rest of groan in defeat before we take aim with our shooter.

On sunny, mild days, people are tempted to the parks, to take walks, or to skate at the outdoor rinks. My youngest grandson has discovered the thrill of gliding across a sheet of ice as if he has wings. When melting makes the snow sticky, the creative juices call for building snow people. Adding a variety of hats, scarves, sticks and stones gives these character and personality.

Ah, wintering! I'm ready to discover the contents of the book on my lamp table.