Zero degrees seems colder than any reasonable life-form can endure, and the other day it was twenty below; it was the same temperature here as the planet Mars. I was born on Earth, not Mars. I need some sun. Michigan has become the Arctic Circle. I expect to see penguins waddling across the frozen tundra of my snow-covered back yard any minute now.
I’d like to share some gardening wisdom with you, but I can’t: I’m buried under the snow and my brain is frozen. Usually I romantically dream over my morning coffee in the winter about glorious summer days to come. Usually I gaze out the window at the spaces only known to me where the first crocuses and hellebores will wave “Hello! Happy spring!” Usually I have enough imagination to survive a few cold days in February without losing my equilibrium.
But enough. Enough! Bitter relentless sub-zero weather started in late December, and shows no sign of abating. We have to leave a tap running in the house so the pipes don’t freeze. The house is never warm, just tolerable. We’re so bundled up indoors my husband and I call each other “Comrade.” You know that cute little bird bath I like to feature in my photos? Well, you can’t see it. It’s buried. My stump is buried. Have I mentioned how much I love my stump? It’s in my ironic Forgotten Garden, surrounded by hellebores and snowdrops. The lovely late winter vignette I planned for the Forgotten Garden’s first spring is buried, and even if it wasn’t, it’s too cold to step outside or leave the blinds open and allow precious molecules of heat to escape. I don’t even look out the window anymore. There is literally nothing to see. Until the polar bears show up. Then I’ll take some pictures, I promise.
My over-wintering crops are buried. Is that good for them? I don’t know. Cilantro inexplicably overwinters in my garden, but that was before Earth became a hostile frozen wasteland. I supposedly have Mache, Mustard and Dandelion greens overwintering for a punchy spring salad – are they alive under the mountain of snow? My carrots and beets for Christmas harvest are still out there in the ground because the freeze came six weeks early and there has been no thaw, not even a hint of thaw. They’ll probably have to go straight into the compost, but I don’t know because I have never experienced cold as cold as this. This cold is just wrong.
It’s so cold here, I have to wonder: do real people live in Canada? Or are they robots designed to explore alien landscapes? I’ve known lots of Canadians, and they seem more or less human. Except when they talk about “plugging in” the car at night. Really? If your mechanically engineered devices cannot withstand the cold, what makes you think your mammalian flesh can survive? I’m done with winter. It’s over; if there was ever anything between us, the thrill is gone.
I’m breaking up with winter. Go on, leave me and take all your things with you. Take every little icicle and snowflake and ice-dam and black chunk of whatever that is falling off my car, take your windy nights that make it impossible to breathe outdoors, take your pelting freezing rain that stings my face, take your mounds of sticky messy gloppy snow destroying my shoes, take your relentless nagging “white white white white white.” Shut up winter. Just stop. Go back to your momma and set me free to fall in love with spring. My heart is ready to burst out of this snow-covered tomb.