Winter Excursion

Jumping out of the passenger side of my son, Alex’s Chevy S10, I reached back and yanked the hood of my long down coat up over my head.  Just wearing my flimsy workout pants and fleece jacket underneath, I was appreciative of the warmth my coat provided, but within that 30 seconds that I was out in the weather, my face began to feel stiff from the cold.

My son opened the barn man-door and flipped on the lights.  We found the extension cord he was looking for and fed it through to the basement where he needed to plug in a heater for the cattle water tank.  We ran back outside and down to the door to the lower level and found our way to the cord.  He plugged it in, then we made our way to the stack of straw bales.  I grabbed one and him another, and we threw them into the back of his truck.  I shivered and exclaimed, “Dang, it’s cold!”

“See!  I told you it was cold out!” he proclaimed.

“I wasn’t disputing the temperature,” I argued, “I meant that out of the wind, the temperature would not be as bad!”

He grunted – his way of agreeing to disagree.

The wind had been blowing with gusts up to 50mph all day. We’d had our discussion about whether the water tank would freeze.  But now the temperature was dropping along with the wind picking up.  To me, it was invigorating!

People complain about the winters in Indiana, and I have to say that sometimes I do get tired of the gray skies and the lack of sunshine.  But weather thrills me.  My mother is the same way, so I know I must get it honestly.

I love the way I feel so alive as I run against the wind.  I feel the force of my body working against the forces of nature.  It is like a competition of the fittest.  When I finally yell “uncle” and run back inside, I feel refreshed.  My lungs cleansed by the bitter cold, but fresh air.  Invigorated and purposeful.  Like an athlete who has just participated in a friendly competition.

Alex and I returned home and pulled up beside his hunting dog kennels.  We stacked bales of straw against the shed that houses his dogs’ homes – boxes built inside the shed.  The dogs are used to the weather, but with the way the wind had been blowing in from the west, we felt a little insulation might keep them just a little warmer.  He told me he was going to give them fresh water and feed them, so I ran inside.

After a day at the office, running around outside in the inclement weather, tending to animals and being in nature left me feeling more alive than I had felt all week.  The stuffy office air was gone from my lungs, replaced by fresh, cold, oxygen filled aliveness.

Country life in the Midwest.  There may be more responsibilities.  More work.  Not a lot of monetary reward.  And the weather may put you to the test.  But the feeling of going back to the basics of life, well, it is like getting down to the core of one’s self.  Simplicity.  Nature.  Life.  And for me – exhilarating!!!


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