The groundhog has long since seen his shadow. The clouds have rolled across the sky as he took shelter back in his tree stump to await the postponed coming of Spring. He smugly sleeps, all cozy in his den. My thoughts of the little rodent snug in his hole do little to warm my body as the "Polar Vortex" returns once again for another round of interesting weather. The wind bites at my ears, stinging them bright pink. My nose runs only a little before it freezes. The moisture of my breath becomes caught on my beard and begins to form miniature icicles that tickle my lips as they chap. The dexterity in my hands is impeded by the bulk of my gloves but removing them only serves to impede the working of my digits even more. My fingers ache in the oppressive cold, finishing their tasks as quickly as possible. My entire body is tight, constricted, tense against the frigid temperatures.
The ground outside is hard, icy, frozen. The remaining dirty piles of grey snow have hardened beyond the strength of rock. The world outside the window, past the door, is barren, sullen. There is little color in the world thanks to the Vortex. Spring is coming and along with it color but it must thaw first. And in order to thaw it must survive the Vortex. I am sure some trees and plants will succumb to the cold, especially after the spurt of warmer temps that has just passed, a tease of the future. But, for now, the color of the world is grey, lonely grey.
The traffic, the cars and trucks and buses, cough to life, begrudgingly taking to the roads. People shuffle along the sidewalks like bundled mummies stooped against nature. Most whine against the wind, grimace against the sting of the cold, cry for the color to return. They hide within walls, wasting the days away hoping for the other days to arrive. Yet the Polar Vortex has brought plenty of opportunity. Besides the financials of entrepreneurial young kids willing to shovel a walk or some stairs, there are the chances to cozy up in front of the fireplace, basking in the glow of the embers, relishing its warmth. There are snow forts to build and sleds to ride. There are heavy, dark, winter warmers to sip by the fire or toast to a great run down the slopes. Favorite flannels long dormant in the back of closets offer their warm softness as do fleece sheets and hot coca. And there is the sting of the cheeks in the wind, the polar bite on the skin that lets one know they are alive.