On the rare occasions I shake hands with someone whose hands are even colder than mine, I realize what an unpleasant experience it is. “Icicle” and “dead fish” come to mind. Unfortunately, my frigid fingers are usually subjecting another person to the chill.
I try not to complain about the weather, per se. It’s futile, and, really, all times of the year can be beautiful. I can’t help complaining about the cold sometimes, though, because from early October to late March, I’m cold, my hands are cold, and my feet are cold. I wish my touch conveyed warmth, but instead I can only hope my hapless receiver is thinking, “Cold hands, warm heart.”
When I awaken on these winter mornings, toasty (at last) in my flannels, under a quilt, a blanket, two comforters, and sometimes my bathrobe, I think to myself, “This is the last time today I’m going to be warm.” Returning to my bed at night, I drift off to sleep just as my extremities begin to defrost.
This evening, though, I remembered why not to complain about the weather. As I walked the dog down the driveway at dusk, I spotted the tracks of our turkeys. My urban neighborhood has been blessed with a visiting flock of five. Sometimes they hang out in our backyard. Sometimes we spot them a block or two away. Tonight, their footprints pointed like arrows down the sidewalk. It was snowing, so their quite visible tracks had to be pretty fresh.
My aged dog and I followed the arrows. They led south to the next block and then east. Thinking we must be getting close, I began to hear a little squeaking noise. It wasn’t a “gobble,” but who knows what sounds turkeys make? This chirping sounded bird-like, anyway – if not from turkeys, maybe a few sparrows, or even some agitated squirrels. Then I realized that the squeaking was coming from the windshield wipers of a car backing out in front of me. A wildlife expert I’m not.
Eventually the arrows pointed off the sidewalk into the street, where they disappeared in the smashed and treaded snow. Darkness was falling, and I couldn’t pick up the tracks across the street, and since our dog can’t walk indefinitely in the snow and cold, I turned back.
The snowy twilight felt like Christmas-time, but without the subliminal anxiety. As we headed home, the street was white and silent. The bare branches of the trees formed black silhouettes against the dusky sky. My icy, mittened hands were thrust deep into my pockets.