As I started to say, I woke up very early, and came out to the computer to check my mail. (What else would one do at 5:30 in the morning, I ask you?) And, as I sat in front of the comfort of the glowing screen, I was roused from my trancelike state by the howling of the wind outside the window next to me.
So, I looked out.
And, behold, from out of the darkness, a blanket of snow whirled and whipped in the wind, blowing out of the big cedar tree in the yard, which was weighted down by a blanket of new snow.
I heard some clacking and clicking and bumping out on the patio. It was our yellow lab, Bella, playing with a frisbee out in the snow. She's crazy. She loves the stuff. She wouldn't come in out of the weather even if we wanted her to. Then, after a bit, my husband came whistling out of the bedroom, wearing a cozy brown sweater and dipped out some of the hot chocolate I'd started on the stove. A little while and the kids wandered down, one by one. Gabe first, then William. Then Theresa and Cathy, together, stumbled down, rubbing their eyes, and snuggled up on the couch. (Still haven't seen my sleepyheads, Michelle and Anna...) What a pleasant, wintery morning, I thought.
And then it hit me. It's not cold. I hadn't even known it was snowing until I heard it outside the window. The children are wandering around barefoot. Nobody is hunkered under blankets. My husband didn't start the day by building a fire in the wood stove. It's actually warm in our house.
For the ten plus years we've lived in this old farmhouse, we've weathered the winters almost like the pioneers. Since we had no central heat, we could really, truly associate with Laura and Mary Ingalls jumping out of the warm covers and hurrying as fast as possible to get dressed in the cold. We wouldn't think of walking around barefoot in the winter. On a morning like this one, everyone would have come down in heavy sweaters and socks and slippers, and then hunkered down with blankets waiting for the wood stove to warm things up.
But not this winter.
Ah, the beauty of central heat. I'm happy to report our new radiant heat system is working well.
Even as I sit here typing, happily toasty and comfortable, I wonder if our little ones will be deprived of not having experienced life before-the-radiators. In the spirit of "all-things-being-relative," I'm sure they won't appreciate this winter warmth like the rest of us will. And, generally speaking, I can't help but wonder if we'll all be the less for not living the seasons, literally, as our ancestors did. For us here at the old homestead, summer and winter, especially, were always very distinct, marked by special rituals of survival that have been lost to Western Civilization. We worked to stay warm, and suffered in the heat. We stocked and cut cords of firewood for winter and slept by the opened screened windows, talking late into the summer night because it was too hot to sleep. There's a certain nostalgic beauty to it all, and I do believe there is a certain character and comaraderie built this way that has no substitute in the modern world. I hate to admit it, and I won't say it too loud or my husband will roll his eyes, but, I will miss the old days.
(Though I repeat, in thanksgiving and some disbelief still ~ that I am so glad to be warm this morning. It's hard to type with frozen fingers.)
For some snowy day indoor fun, whether or not it's snowing where you are, you might consider:
This site where you can build a virtual snowman,
This way cool scientific snowman site that links to the weather in your city,
This great 3-D snowflake tutorial,