Winter’s Dark Days

Friday, December 23, 2022

Heat wave today! This morning’s temperature is in the low twenties, and this afternoon’s will reach the forties.

Yesterday, I made five trips out into the blistering cold. The long-standing snow, a day before, had melted slightly and become slick. Onto it a layer of new snow disguised the slickest spots. I walked very carefully. Above, the sky resembled a deep freeze, bland and cloudless.

Each time I was ready to take care of the outside animals, I let the dogs outside. The puppies handled the cold by running and playing. Twelve-year-old, Ranger, huddled, and Miles and Osix seemed okay. The dogs were eager as I to return inside to warmth again.

Outside, a layer of snow covered the horses’ backs. They welcomed the hay-drops. The chickens and turkeys stayed in their shelters; the dwarf goat refused to step beyond her quarters. I made sure all had adequate food and water.

About outside watering devices, thankfully the trough and bucket heaters were working correctly. I worry about the horse troughs. If their GFCI fails and water heaters stop working, troughs can freeze thickly. Sometimes the water is too thick to crack with a hammer. I’ve been there! In extreme cold, if I manage to crack ice, it will re-freeze and too quickly to serve the horses.

Days of single-digit temperatures are trials for all life, wild animals, pets, and humans. One or two such days are more than enough for me. I can imagine the extensive preparations and experiences of people facing longer very cold climates. Here’s to remember though: humans are adaptable and creative. I suppose I’d figure out how to get along in more challenging atmospheres.

While reading Sofia Tolstoy’s Diaries, I was struck by her frequent references to a current temperature, like -10 degrees or -20 degrees. Thoughts of cold winter Russia cower me, but people live there and survive and thrive. It’s a sign, too, of geographical forces, that Russians are focused on destroying Ukraine’s heat sources in this deep winter.

Dear Friends: The world is larger than we sometimes pause to reflect on and wonder about. Diana

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