When I think about it, I realize that I could be in a worse place.
Like Siberia. Or Algeria.
Actually, maybe Algeria is nice. I’m not sure, but I know it’s a heck of a lot warmer than this stretch of New England marshland in mid-winter at 1:32 p.m.
Truly, most anyplace has to be more appealing than this swathe of cobbled path that borders a wild bird sanctuary for geese, egrets, swans and – down down underneath the icy marsh – sleeping salmon.
My teeth chatter in unintelligible words as the wind whips a brittle, brisk slap across my face. My eyes water, and immediately icicles form on my eyelashes and lower lids.
Damn, I hate the cold.
Yet I trudge on in my L.L. Bean, flannel-infused, rubber-soled, mid-calf fake suede boots, hearing my heavy corduroy pants swish swish as my legs move woodenly. When I get home, if I get home, and peel off these pants, my legs will be as red as ripe tomatoes.
And numb as doorknobs.
But still, I trudge. I curl my fingers into a fist within my heavy wool mittens, trying to envision some blood still circulating in my hands.
And still, I trudge.
Snowflakes suddenly fly down from the sky. I become one with the Earth’s gray-domed snowglobe, the flakes glittering gloomily in the low afternoon light.
Still, I trudge on.
Because I hear it.
I hear the roar of approval from the brown-leafed oak branches and withering tall stalks of cattails.
I hear the cacophony of silk swishing in front and above me as dozens of winter birds alight into the flurried sky.
My mouth opens – I taste the iced winter flurries as I let out a low guttural exclamation of delight.
Nature endures me, ensnares me, and repairs me.
Now, now I can hurry home to the fireplace and my slippers, a cup of chamomile tea and a soft fuzzy blanket.
But within myself . . .
I’m already home.