Sunday, November 20, 2011
A Pleasant Afternoon Stroll
I arrived back from California to find that winter had savagely attacked fall and torn it limb from limb. To go from 68 degrees to temps in the low 20's in 24 hours was a harsh transition. But not nearly as harsh for me as it was for John! I was at least used to the fall weather; he was still stuck in a warm California haze.
This weekend had the coldest temperatures so far this season. Yesterday afternoon was 3 degrees, feels like minus 7---perfect weather for a stroll. The key to comfort in extreme winter temperatures is in preparation. In the summer, it's "Let me throw on a pair of flip-flops and I'll be right out...". In the winter, it's more like this, "Let me spend the next ten minutes putting on 50 layers, and I'll be right out..."
I was very warm on my walk, but I had on: 2 pairs of socks and snow boots, sweat pants and snow pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a fleece sweatshirt, a nylon vest, and my super green jacket. On my head I had a ski mask and a cap, and two pairs of gloves on my hands. Quite cozy, but somewhere along the way I lost my girlish figure. And discovered the reason why there are so few female bank robbers---those masks do nothing for your looks, let me tell you!
It was a cold, gray day with drifting snow blowing across the prairie. But after days of suitably cold temperatures, I wanted to find out how the pond behind my house was doing. I had a suspicion that it might work as an ice skating pond once it was good and hard.
I made it out to the pond, and saw to my delight that it was frozen hard and smooth. Maybe not quite hard enough for skating yet, but you could tell that's the direction it was headed. I went right up to the edge to see how thick the ice was, and discovered that it wasn't thick enough! I thought I was still on solid ground, but I went right through the thin ice. Barely escaped with my life!
It was still slushy around the grass, but where it was just water was frozen very solid. I can hardly wait til we can get out there on ice skates and frolic in a frigid, frozen frenzy. I shall feel just like the movie "Ice Princess."
I left the promise of good times to come and hiked out by the tree thicket. I hadn't been out there all summer, not wanting to meet a skunk out exploring. I'm assuming most of the skunks are safely tucked away for the winter, so it was a good time to see what had been buried under the snow last winter. One thing I found right away was a fixer-upper car for John. He'll be 18 soon, and shhhhh, don't tell, but I might give it to him for a present.
It was a pretty world to be out and about in, in spite of its cold grayness. The snow gently nestled between the frozen prairie grasses, making everything stand out a little more than usual. Soon it will all be covered to await another spring, but for now, the ghosts of last summer still linger.