Siberia

The train came barreling through the snow one morning this week and for a minute, I was transported to Siberia, to the cold climes of Doctor Zhivago where men wore fur hats and women warmed their hands in muffs and where the ever-present cold sting makes you wonder, How did people live in such an inhospitable place where even a house in the countryside was glazed in a sheath of ice, glinting beautifully in the sun, but that must have felt like living in a freezer or one of those ice hotels that I will never understand.

And sure, that was a movie, but there’s Alaska and Antarctica where real people actually live—willingly—who will never know the joy of wearing a bikini or going outside without a ski mask. I can’t imagine anyone in cold climates even bothers fixing their hair.

Here, we’ve surpassed the region’s record of snowfall in January by a foot already with two more months of winter to go. Another foot just fell this week, bringing the total to more than 60 inches of snow. And there’s more to come on Wednesday (snow storms are scheduled for Wednesdays, apparently). I can’t get enough of shoveling. I love poking around the driveway with a shovel trying to find my car. I love a day that threatens to take your breath away—and freeze it in midair. My new hobbies are seeing how far I can walk without slipping on ice and wondering if the snowbanks can swallow my knee-high snow boots.

At least here, though, our houses are not ice prisons and we thaw out eventually enough to de-layer, tentatively venturing out without a scarf on that one brilliant spring day, and returning at last to our core body temperature just as November rolls around and it’s time to do it all over again.

 

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