In case you haven’t noticed, it’s winter in the land of the wandering polar bear, with the biting and burning winds in this sub-zero climate we like to call home. Taking note of this, the wind chill hovering around minus-50 and my thermometer actually not registering anything, I venture out into my porch, my mittened hand sticking slightly to the ice-covered door handle. My refrigerator feels like the Bahamas in comparison to the first blast of inert coldness. The door handle still works and the door opens into an ice fog of sunshine. My breath is hanging and falling slowly to the ground.
My sturdy vehicle didn’t offer me the soft seat I was used to. The windshield is covered in fine snow that clings to the glass like a fuzzy peach and I start the countdown to ignition. The fan off, check, the glow plugs ready to go, check. The key turns like it hadn’t been used for a decade and then the cranking begins. Good old ole Dependable shudders awake and tries to maintain a few revolutions. It dies. Turning off the key and holding my breath so it won’t frost up the windshield, I turn the key again. A seeming endless cranking and stiff movement is felt, and then it kicks in again. Yeah, not bad for 12-year-old truck. It dies again. Finally, after grinding for another eternity it catches and settles into a rough idle.
Whew, made it to the vehicle at least. Back indoors to wait for the vehicle to warm up and reach some sort of safe operating level, I start writing this column. Oh the time it takes to warm up in the North is the same time it takes for spring to show up. I just might meet that dental appointment after all. But no, it seems that medical emergencies just can’t wait for Mother Nature to do its wonderful tinkering with man-made objects. I go out to check on my vehicle and see that it looks nice and toasty and I ready for the short trip to the dentist and venture outdoors again. Some sort of thick red fluids are spewing out the front of Dependable and I realize that I’m not driving anywhere to day. In the extreme cold, the power steering hoses freeze up, expand and burst. This vital element gone from my anti-winter arsenal, the skidoo gets started up. At least it’s made for the winter.
My skin is wrapped up tightly with the woven cloth of some lamb and the skidoo doesn’t fail me. However, the glasses that I have to wear forever keep fogging up and it becomes a little hazy when it comes to navigating around indoors. The dental appointment has to wait I guess, as time, which doesn’t flow at the same rate during the winter as it does in the rest of the universe, bumps the critical appointment into the next week. The foibles of travelling around town, which is barely a mile and a half at its furthest points, have taken its toll on me today. Making sure that winter doesn’t get to you is a constant battle, literally with the elements of the universe and laws of nature, and most of the time, nature wins.
Turning up the furnace to burn more fossil fuels, I sign off from the frozen North, hopefully to reappear in March when there are only ideas to tend with.