We are still in Maine (August at the lake is wonderful) but the first intimation of things to come will be roaring down from Hudson Bay any day now. Thoughts of winter are starting to crowd the brain. There is an old saying up here that posits ... " We have nine months of winter here. And three months of hard sledding."
I know it is hard for many of my acquaintance to understand this fixation with all things frigid. Winter is not some fluffy scene of cottages snug under the shelter of towering pines, smoke curling lazily from a chimney in a romantic Currier & Ives' Christmas card tableau. No, it is a time of death and privation, curtains standing straight out from the pressure of the wind on the pane, temperatures so low that hitting the seat of the truck to answer a neighbor's call for help is like sitting on a frozen stack of 2x4's, only with less give. All things mechanical not coddled and warmed electrically simply refuse to move. Cold so severe that unprotected skin freezes that hard, dirty grey of death you know will never come back. You know, the kind of weather so awful that -10 F. Is celebrated as a "thaw".