Winter is back. The snow has not returned to its full glory, but the cold depressing freezingness of lonely winter has begun to take advantage of the land. The grass has turned to its usual grayish brown, stamped down, unable to rise until those first rains and thaws of April take the poor trampled on grass and cradle it in its warmth and lovingness and replenish its health. Icicles are thick and foreboding as they jut out from rock faces and cliffs where the highway plows right through the rock, no dripping, just hard icy icicles slowly thickening in the cold that pushes itself on the dripping water that comes from runoff and snowmelt and deep seepage in some unknown place underground on the very top of the mammoth walls which feature these massive chandeliers of ice. Ice fishermen have reclaimed the lakes, which are devoid of snow but nevertheless have been riddles rather quickly with makeshift shacks and small holes with a few hardy souls peering over their lines, dangling them to keep the hole from freezing, smoking cigarettes, retreating every few minutes to their trucks waiting on the hardened ice spewing exhaust fumes into the frosty air as they spin mixing with the windswept lakes and rivers as the little snow there is blows off the slick surfaces and joins the carbon monoxide in a wild tornado of fumes and frozen water vapors. Carhart clad men and some women wearing flannel shirts and large workmen’s overcoats, rocky boots, maybe some country music or Rush Limbaugh blaring from their idling trucks, sit and breath deep breaths that almost resemble the mufflers of their trucks with the swirling fumes.
All this adds to the madness of winter, a makeshift tundra, a wonderland of brown, white, and gray, greenery gone for a few months, save for a few evergreens scattered around yet even those have under the extreme cold begun to fade to a sort of green sort of brown color. The land and the people begin to succumb to the maddening winter, so long are the 50 degree days of December and the global warming escapade, no more excuses because winter has finally arrived. The forecasters all predict the deep freeze to stay, lows below zero and highs just above zero will wreak havoc on those who have grown used to the freak warmth. People will retreat to their dens and become glued to their televisions and wait for spring to arrive. The remote will become their extended hands, trading in the steering wheel, bike handles, or baseball mitt for that plastic hand extension that has been gathering dust in the days waiting for when it will be rejoined with its rightful owner. Days spent becoming wary and jealous of the other hand extensions that take precedence when the sun shines bright and generates its warmth down onto the land. The remote is reunited with its lover and begins the journey making its owner fat and lazy with its addictions, almost like a drug, it sucks you in and no matter what you do you cant seem to shake the addiction. Oh just one more hour, ok after next commercial break, but a look outside unto the winters wrath just makes the time slow to a crawl and the only respite seems to come in the form of this electric contraption that helps you live other peoples lives vicariously by seeing what they have and the enjoyment they are having in that ever distant bright California sunshine.
The snow swirls about dancing brilliantly under the moonlight while the few brave souls who reject this laziness way of winter survival, we loner societal outcasts embrace the winters final triumph and don our cross country skis and slide amongst tall leafless trees at all hours of the day, slowly methodically making our way into the woods to discover virgin snows and a way to escape the boring society of which we must eventually return to in order to unfreeze our water bottles and replenish our bodies with calories that have been lost in this lonely winterdom. Lazier more adrenalin outdoors enthusiasts enjoy the throaty growl of an arctic cat flowing through groomed trails in the Tug Hill plateau going 75 miles per hour as they throw snow from their sled tracks, wind in their face and cold temps cant stop these snow warriors from tackling the snowy mazes of the northern regions that are all but empty forests save fro the few folks that get their kicks from the cold and snowy action that lies ahead. We fine folks scoff at those who chose hibernation over embracing what God has given us, we relish in the emptiness of the forests and frozen bodies of water as we snowshoe, snowmobile, ice fish, ski or walk through the abandoned acreage that come summer months will be crowded once again with big city tourists and those many folks who chose hibernation over enjoyment of this fine weather.