Friday, February 1, 2013

Winter Olympics

I hate really dislike the cold.

Probably because I grew up in the South.

A few years ago, I was offered a job in Ontario. It was a lovely job, with lovely colleagues, but all I could think of was the weather.

I visited in the heart of winter. I remember watching saucer-sized snowflakes dust the evergreens in the late afternoon twilight. I remember the deep, narrow paths chiseled out of the snow between front doors and driveways, sidewalks and storefronts. Paths exactly one pencil-thin, snow-shovel width across. It was beautiful, but all I could think about was avoiding the knee-deep walls of snow.

I asked the boss how people managed in the cold. He said the trick was to find a winter sport. I'd heard this before. People who downhill ski, or cross-country ski, or snowboard, or ice skate, don't mind winter so much. So they say. But I'm not a skater, or a skier, because, well, I grew up in the South and, did I mention, I hate really dislike the cold.

I didn't want to take up skiing or skating just to survive the winter. I wanted to live on a farm and have a horse and a goat and maybe grow a garden. I wanted to start enjoying life before I got too old to do these things. So I turned the job down and accepted one, instead, in the Midwest where the land is cheap and the agricultural tradition strong. Not the Upper Midwest. No Minnesota or Wisconsin for me. The warm and balmy Lower Midwest.

So here I find myself, on a February afternoon, working in my lower midwestern barn. Mucking stalls. Refilling the goats' mineral supplies. Breaking ice in water buckets. The temperature is in the teens, but I'm so warm from the effort that I've stripped off my outer coat and am working in a couple of good layers topped only by a fleecy. I still won't say I like the cold, but I'm not suffering too much. Had I realized that barn chores counted as a winter sport, I might have gone to Canada after all.


  1. :-D I thought it sure FELT like Canada yesterday. Yeesh!

  2. The Goatmother grew up in Oklahoma. She could have told you the weather is cold in the lower Midwest. :) Oy. I'll stick with Washington.

  3. Sounds like you found the perfect Winter Sport!! :)
    Shoot, we even have to break ice in the water buckets in lower Arizona! LOL!!