Today I’m feeling thankful for:
- Montana Winters — long and cold and dark and daunting and powerful and mystical and gorgeous — Spring, Summer, and Fall are wonderful (they are the reasons I live in Montana) but I am convinced that it is Winter here that makes all the rest possible — it wipes the slate clean, resets the natural world, and begins everything anew; without the Winter, this place would not be what it is.
- snow — fluffy, white, frozen water drifting, blowing, dusting, and tumbling to Earth like feathers of magic — it blankets the landscape, it buries cars, it outlines every branch of every tree, and is the best temporary building material the sky ever made — you can even cover a mountain with it and turn it into an acrobatic theme park.
- thermal fabric — silk, alpaca, wool, smart-wool, fleece, acrylic, capilene, polyester, down-stuffed anything, even nylon — these wonders of industry make life possible for humans in 0°F weather — they keep our fingers, noses, ears and toeses on, and keep the rest of us warm and dry enough to stay alive. Every day I put on a layer of silk, cotton (not thermal, but breathable), smart-wool or capilene or polyester, then a wool sweater, then (to go out) probably a fleece jacket, a down coat and/or a nylon shell, with fleece ear-muffs, cotton/acrylic scarf, wool mittens, and sometimes fleece-lined wool hat and nylon snow pants. Sounds like a layered dessert to me for some reason.
- heat — amazing stuff, that hot-ness — from our own cores, to our furnaces, to our car defrosters, to the sun himself — we’re so fortunate to have fire and to know warmth, even in a Montana Winter.
- light — I’m not trying to get too cosmic, here, with these last two, it’s just that even though the Winter is far from over, and the cold days ahead are as long or longer than the cold days behind, there’s something about rounding that corner of Winter Solstice, and recognizing that the days are getting longer again, and seeing more light each day, that is like the warmth of heat, the comfort of thermal fabrics, and the wonder of snow for the mind — and what’s more, the last 2 years we’ve had more sunny days throughout Winter than all the other Winters I’ve spent in Missoula combined, and I’m extremely grateful for that.
- snow-boots — our whole family now has stellar Winter boots — thick, warm, dry, easy-on and -off, and easier to get around in on the ice and drifting snow.
- chickadee(s) — we have a Winter stow-away or two this year, living off the chicken feed and compost in the chicken yard — fat, fluffy, tennis ball(s) of mottled feather that I feel as happy as a birthday to see hopping around the branches of the bare shrubs by the fence.
- hot tea — I drink it all year, but it sure is nice to hug a mason jar of hot yumminess when it’s 30°F or below outside.
- homeopathy — so good for dealing with whatever we get from being cooped up this time of year.
- the YMCA — indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna for the whole family — need I say more?
- imgination — thank goodness our kids have such strong ones to help them (and us) get through the many months of playing inside.
- books — in Winter, under thermal fabric, with hot tea… mmmmm
- love — yep, I’m feeling thankful for that four-letter wonder that makes everything everything all right — it may not be directly related to Winter, but we couldn’t survive the long cold without it, that’s for sure, and in any case, I sure am thankful for all I’ve got — between family and friends, I am ridiculously wealthy in love.
That’s the list for the moment. I think my tea is cool enough to drink now…