Making Peace with the Polar Vortex

Winter has my city in its death grip. It’s hard to feel life.

It’s hard to feel my hands.

I’ve been through many, many bad winters, but as I feel the wind ice-burn through me, or check and see that the temps are going to be, shall we say, suboptimal for a good long while, the prevailing feeling I have is one of dread. No light at the end of the tunnel (or light so faint that it’s not going to matter).

So like many things in my life, I have to look for the light in Less Obvious Sources.

Calling these winds Arctic isn’t just a metaphor. The jet streams brought the cold air south, and indeed for awhile the northern U.S. was one of the coldest places on earth. These are the same gusts as above Baffin Island. Caught in its grip, yesterday I was walking back to my car from work and realized: I have to live with this. These winds are just winds.

And I felt less cold. Could I even feel grateful for this bitterness? As the wind gusts outside as I write this, I am certainly grateful for a warm house, something that I never want to take for granted. But even though everything seems dead, and slowing, and the people around me have their patience tested with this weather, seeing this weather as having its own life has helped me come to terms with it, to know that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed by it, by an awe-inspiring brutal power.

And so I wait, not quite ready to hole up completely. Willing to walk with the crystalline sky-and-sun, the desert of snow around me.

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