Photos: Evolution of Winter

Swing awayIce cold
Skating on the pond
Winter might finally be here

For many weeks we thought Winter was a myth.  Our days shifted quickly from having sunny skies, to those with rain clouds, and once or twice there was a good snow.  But as a “season;” as an extended period of colorless cold?  No, that was not the Zürich to which we are a part.

Then, about two weeks ago, the heavens shifted south.  A “Siberian cold front” was pulled toward us by vengeful winds escaping Russia.  You might hear “Siberian,” and scoff.  It couldn’t be that bad, right?  Maybe not on the first day, when temperatures in Celsius were still in the low teens.  Then single digits.  Then minus single digits.  Then minus double digits.  And then rivers begin to freeze, ponds turn into play areas, and you realize the myth which was Winter, has finally arrived.

There are some things that we expect to feel when the mercury dips past 0, toward “time is frozen.”  We expect to wear more layers, and not feel our cheeks if we spend too long outside.  We expect our hands to begin to sting if we take off our gloves for too long.  But you don’t expect your water pipes to burst.

I had a feeling trouble was coming when water pressure dropped just a bit from our faucets.  I immediately filled bottles and pitchers, without thinking, really.  Within minutes the water was off, and workmen were digging into our street to find the broken water main.  They fixed it by the afternoon, but the same pipe broke a few meters away the next day.  We now have a healthy stock of bottled water, just in case it happens again.

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In the time before this arctic white-out the chill was subtle and selective.  Swing-sets and blades of grass would before freeze only when in the shade; only when the sun was too tired to maintain its dominion over nature.  That selective cold is now replaced with ice–brutal, unforgiving ice.

I still don’t consider myself a Winter person, but I can see beauty in it.  I could also see immense beauty in the mostly brown, but remarkable open desert of Arizona.  Perhaps it was St. Francis who said we should be able to find beauty in any of God’s creations, or at least be open to try to enjoy our surroundings.  Sometimes having an open mind is enough to allow one to see something amazing.

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