Archive for Thursday, December 15, 2005

Snow’s beauty soon wears thin

December 15, 2005

Last week's snow and the cold weather that followed brought with it a beauty that provided some compensation for enduring its bite. Early Friday morning, tree limbs, brush and even tall grass shone with icy incandescence in landscapes made mysterious by deep snow.

It was strange and wonderful to see Kill Creek flowing in the sky Friday morning as I entered De Soto from the west on Kansas Highway 10. The rising sun to the east illuminated long threads of condensation above the creek. Like wraiths, they followed the creeks path from the south through town.

I would love to share the sight with you, but the camera I had loaded for the day remained on the living room table where I had reminded myself to pick it up not three minutes before walking out the front door.

However enchanting the post-storm scenery, I don't imagine many were disappointed with the weekend thaw. If nothing else, it's cheaper.

As I woke during a fretful sleep last Thursday night to the steady sound of the furnace, some cash register in my head kept tallying the price of my comfort. I settled on an estimate of somewhere from $12 to $15 for that night. That seemed exorbitant in the early morning hours, but pretty reasonable the next day as I read newspaper accounts of the homeless bent over manholes in a hopeless attempt to stay warm. Had I been out in the night's breath-sucking sub-zero air, I would have gladly paid that much for a warm, comfortable bed.

The weather adds a challenge to my late evening walks with Pablo. Pablo, unmindful that as a biped I'm a lot more at risk on ice and snow, tends to urgently pull at his restraining leash as he noses out his next object of interest. Meanwhile, I'm taking choppy little steps I image will protect me from a fall or slip that would expose my trick knee to possible over-extension but only cause my thighs and shins to ache for days afterward.

So we're at cross purposes with Pablo trying to enjoy one of his two daily walks, which are very important to his day, and me just trying to survive.

Like many things, it reminds me of one of my Granddad's stories. In the days before chain saws, he and his older brother were assigned the task of cutting family firewood with a two-man saw. The saws were effective, Granddad would say, but only if you got along well with the guy on the other end. Apparently at that time, he and his brother didn't and episodes of pushing when one should have been tugging escalated into sibling warfare.

I imagine them out in the cold assigned a task they disliked but couldn't escape, channeling their anger into the chore at the risk of getting even angrier until they were finally forced to cooperate. It was a much more valuable lesson than worrying about the thermostat's setting on the furnace.

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