January 16th, 2007


Baby, It's Cold Outside

Flakes float down as big as pie plates. Ice mimics each vein of each leaf on the Asian jasmine. The back deck is a skating rink.
Every ½ an hour or so, runny-nosed daughters and neighbors rush in, hungry and chilled; we pop hats and gloves into the drier so they'll  be ready for the next jaunt out.  
The weather folk are calling it ICE STORM ‘O7 (read with a threatening boom) but heck, I just call it vacation. Mind you, I’m posting from AUSTIN, TEXAS, where we’re more accustomed to burning our hands on the heat of our steering wheels.
The delight of this unfamiliar weather – keeping us home together, reading and cooking, taking baths, playing cards, and did I mention reading and cooking? – it’s enough to shake up the most routinized among us, it’s a new new year.
Our 2nd grader’s science fair project suddenly entails freezing a whole variety of liquids in an ice-cube tray – outside, on our front porch! Nobody’s trying to fry an egg out there today. Her dad (who “should” be at work) has fresh pizza dough rising in the kitchen and his guitar is freshly tuned. My semester remains un-started. Even our 12-year-old dog feels frisky.
We are ill-equipped, to be sure. Our fleece jackets, so toasty most Texas days, seem pathetic, even doubled up. Our shoes are porous and slippery, and our windows and doors don’t seal like they ought to. The highway department reports hundreds of wrecks and the Blockbuster shelves were stripped of everything but the crankiest videotapes yesterday by noon.
But we ignore the bluster, crank up the cocoa to a full boil and sing, I swear, more Christmas carols. ‘Cause why not? There’s a bright white light in the air and it’s winter, even in Texas.