Winter Nights

It’s the kind of night where Minnesota shows the world what winter looks like up here.  It’s not too cold, actually, hanging out in the 20s, which, for Minnesota, is FANTASTIC.  But it’s been snowing heavily all day and will continue until midnight, and the snow that falls is thick and wet and heavy.  And it lands on a slick layer of ice, so the roads are nigh impassable.  They’re calling it “snow/freezing fog.”  That’s about right.

Nights like this can be cozy.  I settle in on my favorite couch spot under a pile of blankets and surrounded by books and my laptop and a few snacks.  There’s hockey on tonight, and many shows recorded, and Sarah’s been playing a lot of Minecraft on the TV when we get tired of either.

But I always sense something deeper in the snowy nights in the winters of the north.  Something old, that taps into the instincts of survival and exploration.  Something that whispers with the voice of pioneers and settlers and the peoples who were here first.

The snow makes the world seem quiet and still once I’m safe inside.  And it makes me feel like I’m snug in a nest, in a den, in a burrow.  I can understand why animals hibernate, why people in the time before gas and electric heat spent evenings like this under blankets cuddling by firelight.

The world holds still, its breath suspended in the cold and dark with only the wind and falling snow to track the time.

I’ve never lived a winter anywhere but in the north, be it in western New York or here in Minnesota.  And for as long as I can remember, I’ve felt the quiet of these nights in my very bones.  Almost an invitation to reflect and to rest.  The world isn’t going anywhere.  My heart can curl up and sleep.

The cats seem to agree.

If you’re anywhere in the path of this storm, or any other, be safe out there.  All the peace and calm of the winter comes from the safe, warm places behind windowpanes.  Please take care until you get there.  The roads are pure suckitude.

But the front yard is lovely.

(And the front step is literally 3 feet deep in a drift.  Gonna make for some interesting shoveling tomorrow!)