Looking On the Bright Side

As I settle down in front of my computer to type these words, the outside
temperature is four degrees. Not counting the wind chill. Snow covers the
ground, the rooftops and the road that runs in front of my house.  And though I always have been and always will be a summer girl, I’m trying my hardest to find something to be grateful for in weather like this.

So here it is–my gratitude list for the first full week of January 2014:

  • At least I don’t live in Chicago or Fargo, which are—respectively—14 degrees below zero and 20 degrees below zero this morning.
  • The sun is shining and the sky is a brilliant blue, something we Tennesseans don’t see much during the winter months.
  • My hayloft is full, so my horses will not go hungry.
  • I survived the “it’s fixin’ to snow” crowds at Walmart, which still had plenty of food on the shelves last Saturday afternoon. I paid closer attention than usual to what people seemed to be buying. Toilet paper was, indeed, a popular item. But
    bread, milk and peanut butter seemed to take a backseat to potato chips, soft drinks and frozen pizza.
  • My electricity is still working, as is my plumbing. Knock on wood.
  • If the electricity fails, I have a wood stove to keep me warm. But not an outhouse.
  • I’ve learned a new term: “polar vortex.”
  • I have ski clothes to wear when I must go outside. And I’m not talking about a
    swimsuit and a life jacket. Wick-away long johns, a polar fleece cap, and
    waterproof mittens have lately become some of my favorite inventions. Ditto for
    knee-high neoprene boots.
  • This frigid weather is bound to be killing off the bugs that plague us every summer. Imagine June, July and August with no flies or ticks or mosquitoes. I can hardly wait.
  • My end table is stacked with books I plan to read this year, including some Pulitzer Prize winners from years past. Here’s hoping they’re better than most of the six winners I read in 2013, which I’ll tell you about in an upcoming column.

The outdoor thermometer now shows a balmy nine degrees, so I’m heading outside to let the dogs romp. We’ll walk in the woods, now that deer season is over, and listen to the quiet.

On that walk, I’ll be reminded of how pretty a coal-black dog looks against white snow. I’ll marvel at how thick and fuzzy my horses’ coats have grown. I’ll admire the dozens of cardinals that wait on the limbs of the snow-flocked hemlock tree for their turn at my birdfeeder. Then I’ll load my arms with firewood and head back into the house, looking forward to tonight’s National Championship football game.

And trying as hard as I can not to wish that winter was behind us.

(January 12, 2014)




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