Sunday night, when we were taking out the recycling, I pushed the box of cardboard from our porch and it slid, perfectly, like it was on a conveyor belt, all the way to matt at the bottom of the driveway. That's how icy everything was this weekend.
We had a few mild mild days and everything that has slush and snow on it became a puddle, and then overnight it all became a skating rink.
Sunday afternoon we were showing friends the barn and Matt essentially towed me up the path to the barn. One of our friends brought trekking poles. Saturday a visiting friend got out of the car and stood still while he slid down the driveway a few feet. It was crazy.
So on Saturday night, when we gathered around a friends table for the most perfect lasagna dinner, glasses full of wine and a roaring fire just a few feet away, our friend said a few words of thanks.
"Thank you for this food and company, and thank you for letting us be northerners. For this gorgeous weather, and this place we call home."
Maybe it was the wine, or the wood fire, or the cozy cottage on the lake we sat in, but my eyes welled to the brim with tears. Because in all the craziness of sliding down driveways and moving snow and our entire backyard being a mud pit in a few weeks, 'thank you for letting us be northerners.' I've lived up north for 6 years now, and finally it seemed someone had simply summed it up. We should be grateful for being able to live in such a crazy place.
Everyday I drive past an enormous dairy farm on our road, and every day, the guys are out there working. It's be -15 below and I've seen him. My friend Emily has ducks and goats and animals that need her everyday at her farm. And so it is, we hunker down, but we also can't hunker away. Things need us.
Friends, family, animals, barns, clients, we can slow down, but we can't stop in the winter.
I spent an hour last week just walking around the farm with Maple. Assessing the holes she's dug, finding the spot where I estimate there are 25 rabbits living underneath a porch on the bunkhouse. (Matt wants rabbit stew. A post for a different day.) We have to keep moving, inspecting. Looking for holes in fences and boards that need repairing.
Last week the sun was so bright and brilliant it hurt to look outside. But when I came out to feel it on my face, a small avalanche fell from the barn. Months of snow and ice releasing the ties that held it up there and falling to the ground. In that spot now, there's a 7 foot tall snow pile that will be there till June.
Winter is packing her bags. I can tell. It'll still be 5 degrees here Thursday night, but the long stretch? The bitter bitter days? The darkness? It's fading. We'll get another monster snow storm, and schools will be closed, but the worst is behind us, and it wasn't even that bad.
And so, we wait for spring. For bulbs to sprout and trees to bud, grass to green and the birds to return. And I wait with anxiety for when the critters who have infested this yard for 2 years while the farm was empty, find out theres a 90 lb dog living here who thinks this is her turf. Skunks, raccoons, possums, they will all emerge from their hiding spots.
Earth needs to be turned, and seeds put in the ground. It'll be Memorial day before I put anything actually in the ground, but the way the weeks are flying by it'll be here before we know it.
And until then, we'll savor these last few weeks of long dinners & icy driveways and be oh so thankful to be 'northerners.'