31 December 2018

Embracing Winter

Embracing Winter...whether I want to or not.

Last year, my first full winter in Colorado, Mother Nature was kind. The winter was warm(ish) and the snow was sparse.  I mastered driving in snow and ice in baby steps. And fortunately did not have to practice it much.

This year, winter showed up with a vengeance.  There has been more snow so far this year than we had all of last year. I have already burned through 800 pounds of pellets.  Last year I maybe used 250 pounds the entire year. (And yes, I had to carry every single one of those 40 pound bags into the house. My winter upper body work out.)

The Twin Sisters dusted all over.

The drive to work is in the dark. The drive home is in the dark. Thank goodness work has a window which warms me and gives me a dose of Vitamin D very day. That will change in the spring as the office moves to a new space. I am delighted at all the construction delays as I am dreading the move.

Snow capped

My toes seldom see the light of day. They go from Uggs to the shower - where I catch a glimpse of them under water- to socks and boots and more socks and blankets. My skin resembles the underbelly of a mushroom- pale and luminescent- deprived of the sun and a tan.  Under every shirt is a camisole, an extra layer of warmth.  

Hiding behind the clouds

The bears have set an example that I seem to be following: load up on food and hibernate.  Gone are summer's salads and shrimp tacos, replaced by potatoes and apples and pasta, pasta, pasta. Like the bears, I have put on a few extra pounds. I'll worry about that come summer...I'm the only one who sees under the layers of sweaters and jeans. 

Ham and cheese in a puff pastry on a bed of jalape├▒o reduction, 
courtesy of my fave restaurant, Shallots.
These are the meals I crave and live on. 

Home from work, the cabin is chilly, the floors cold. First the pellet stove gets fired up, then the dog fed. Some nights it seems the cabin never warms so I take another cue from the bears and give in, taking the iPad and a book to the warmth of the electric blanket. It's dark out anyway, why not just go on to bed? 

A blanket of snow and clouds rolling towards the cabin.

Walks are non-existent unless there is fresh snow. Then they are a workout. But the day after snow there is ice, and with ice comes slips. That's how I broke my elbow a few years ago, an experience I am in no hurry to repeat.  So my workout routine is also non-existent, except for lugging bags of pellets in and out.  The yoga classes at work call to me, maybe I need to reply. 

Clouds, fog, snow? 

But in it all there is such beauty. Driving into Salida there is suddenly the view of the Collegiate Peaks, dusted with snow.   The Sisters out my front door change daily. Snow covered, snow dusted, snow traces, repeat.  The bald eagles are out, majestically flying through the canyon,  fishing the river. Where they are during the summer I do not know, but winter and spring are when I usually see them and this winter the sightings have been frequent. That river they fish, the Arkansas, is full of ice, frozen towards the edges, chunks breaking free and floating down as the sun warms the day. 

And even as we enter January I see a flash of hope to keep me carrying on.  Last week the sun set at 4:39pm, this week it will be 4:44pm. Five minutes later each week? I'll take that. By the end of January the difference will be noticeable. There are bulbs under the snow, storing their energy, waiting for enough sun and warmth to pop through.

And until then? You will find me under the electric blanket, reading. 

Carlos and I know where we belong in the winter. 

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