My relationship with winter has slowly deteriorated over the years. I mean, I used to LOVE winter. I would huddle down by the old radio listening to the weather forecast and hope like crazy that they would be calling for cold and snow. And then if we were so fortunate to get some snow, I'd huddle by the radio again hoping against hope to hear the wonderful news that Campbell County schools were closed for the day.
Of course those days would have to be made up. But that was so far into the future it was almost off the radar. The day at hand was here to enjoy now.
And enjoy them we did. I wouldn't be able to tell you the hours we spent sledding on cousin Dwayne's hill.And then if we got too wet and cold we could walk across the road to Uncle Robert's house; hang all our soggy wet gloves and coats around the wood stove and play a long game of Monopoly while we warmed up.Sometimes when the snow was too soft for good sledding during the day, we would spend hours stomping up and down the hill, one footprint in front of the next one, making a packed down "track".That way when the sun went down and the temperature dropped we were all set for a night of sledding. We might take along a couple of old tires to set on fire to give us some light on an extra dark night. ( I know, some of those nights we had a pretty big carbon footprint)
In the middle of one big snowstorm during the 60's, my sister Judy came down with a bad pain in her side. The roads were impassable, with huge drifts across them in places. My folks were on the phone with our family doctor who said it sounds like appendicitis to him. He was just about ready to call the National Guard to fly him out in a chopper and operate on our kitchen table when whatever was causing Judy's pain eased up and it wasn't necessary. What a disappointment that was.
Like I said, I used to love winter.
But that was then. This is now. Now when the weather gets cold and the days get short I have to sort of grit my teeth and will myself to make it thru another winter. Most of the winter I feel a little foggy, sort of like I never quite wake up all the way. I get a craving for the sun when it doesn't shine for several days. And when it does come back out I've found myself doing just like cousin Pablo's pet black howler monkey in his book "My Father's World".
|Soaking in the sun. (I know, there's a striking resemblance between Sambo and I; we're probably relatives)|
But we've almost made it to March! We had two nice sunny days in a row and my uncle Harvey gave me a poke in the ribs at the same time. I think I might be coming out of hibernation.
Speaking of which; let me tell about the animal that has winter figured out. I could almost be envious. It's the ground squirrel of Glacier National Park. They are awfully cute; they remind me of an overgrown version of our chipmunk. They are also fairly tame and you can get pretty close to one before they head for safety underground.
|Took this last summer near Iceberg Lake, Glacier National Park|
They have burrows that go deep below the frost line. They retire in late September and don't wake up till June! How do they possibly stay alive that long? I was going to say that they've got it down to a science. But I guess I should say that their Maker has it down to a science.
During hibernation their body temperature goes down to 37 degrees. Their pulse rate slows to 5 beats per minute. And the most amazing fact of all; they take one breath..................every five minutes. TAKE THAT, FEBRUARY!
Now, I'm not ready to sleep for 8 months out of the year just yet. I would hate to miss my favorite month, October. And April is usually sort of nice.
But February? You could tempt me with February.