The walls are closing in

So I’m practicing for weekend blog updates. I’m thinking I need to streamline my boot-up procedures a little, and maybe put the writing first.

Anyway, this is the time of year in New England that the walls start closing in on us. Today looks deceptive. The sun is bright and the pathways are clearer than normal, due to quite a thaw last week. One’s mind turns to wild adventures like walking to the library, or taking Grey and Thane somewhere that is not our house. But then one turns to the thermometer.


Yes, that says 0 degrees.

At a certain temperature, even indoor activities not in your own house seem daunting. Does it require taking the T? Parking and walking in? How many layers will you need to pack your toddler in, and how many of those will be appropriate once you’ve arrived in the safety of another heated location? At about 10 degrees, the cars stop keeping up, and are not comfortably warm. Easier just to stay put!

But after a few days or weekends of staying put, you get very bored. Or at least my children do. They both love adventures and outings. It’s one of the guaranteed ways of getting Thane to settle when he’s grumpy. The last weekend of January it’s bad. The last week of February is downright grim. A winter storm in March? Heaven forfend.

I’ll get Grey out in a little bit for aikido, and then he and I are going to a fundraiser for Haiti tonight. Thane is doomed to a pajamas day. Adam’s at aikido right now. There’s church tomorrow — always good to get out for.

Last night I looked out Thane’s window. The moon was exceptionally bright — so bright it threw dark shadows of trees across the pale and blowing old snows. The shadows danced in the frigid wind. I find myself wondering how, before the niceties of blown-in-insulation and central heating, how did humanity survive in these winters? I hesitate to expose my healthy 15 month old to 10 minutes of layered, blanket-wrapped stroller journey. The native tribes who welcomed those first pilgrims had no walls or Goretek or natural gas heating. I know that part of the answer was that they did not all survive the coldest winters. But how miserable must it have been? How would they have longed for the walls which currently encircle me? The sensation of warmth and fullness must both have been so fleeting in winter, and warm spells nearly life-giving in their welcomeness. Meanwhile, I am surprised by the brief visit of chill to my fingers and toes, and consider it entirely optional and to be avoided.

Modernity is a marvelous thing.

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

2 thoughts on “The walls are closing in”

  1. It is 40 degrees here today. True, I would put on a jacket to go out, but what a difference 40 degrees makes.

    It may not be cold outside, but I certainly have a cold inside. It dampens the spirit, it does.


  2. Seriously–it’s almost not worth going out in this MA weather. My husband keeps threatening to force a move to San Diego and, honestly, my protestations are becoming weaker.


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