Looking again at the thermometer it
shows below zero temps for the forth straight day. This is beginning
to shape into more of an old fashion winter from long ago. All
that’s missing are the snow drifts that used to cover mom and dad’s
clothes line poles. It was child’s play trying to wallow almost
swimming out of chest deep snow as the drifts gave way under foot.
Some of those memories resurface from time to time especially in the
early evening darkness broken only by the warm glow of wood-fired
flames from behind the glass wood stove door. As I sit here the two
Goldens are curled on the floor near that heat source with Snap
sleeping next to me on the couch. It is quiet but for the occasional
cracking inside the stove. From time to time there’s also a
banging sound overhead as the rafters crack in the extreme cold.
There’s almost a magical urge to stare into the orange and yellow
flames above the red glowing coals. Not able to resist my staring
takes me far back in time. Back into my past and even beyond that.
If I close my eyes I can hear the slow groaning engine of an old Ford
trying to come to life in 30 below temps. In college I used to bring
the battery from a 50”s era Mercury Montery into my dorm room
upping the chances that it might start for a weekend trip home 40
miles away. The flames take me further back too. What must it have
been like to live in a time when the stone fireplace was the only
heat source for an entire winter? It must have been difficult for
both man and beast but we, well most of us including me are not able
to comprehend even such a concept. I have cut and split wood each
year for the past 20 or so along with hauling it on a daily basis to
help heat our home but the thermostat still tells the furnace when to
remove the night chill. The fire sometimes takes me back to being a
child. The hide-a-bed pulled out, blankets and pillows in front of
the cabin field stone fireplace. Aunt Jo sleeping on the bed across
the room and flames leaving a dancing glow as logs burned and the old
oil burner filled the room with heat. Now even though people from my
past are gone the memories made at the cabin return as this flame
I was going to fish today but at minus
7 gave in to the thought of it being too cold. But was it really too
cold or have I been indoctrinated so well by tv weather types in
Atlanta and elsewhere from warm studio broadcasts to only think that
it is? I do believe however that those of us who embrace the
outdoors are better suited to enjoy the ebb and flow of the elements.
As a child in weather such as this mom’s final touch would be a
scarf around the face pulled tight then sent out the door to play.
I’ve learned those lessons from her well but now it’s a soft
turtle around the neck, thick stocking hat, pack boots and Ice Armor
bibs and jacket along with long johns before heading out the door.
Tomorrow I will fish but today I will
stare into the flames and travel back in time a bit more! Stay Warm!