It’s finally acting like fall here in Georgia. Tuesday evening it was 57 degrees at 6:00 p.m., pitch dark, and I was ready to hole up with a fire and a mug of apple cider. Yes, 57. I’m a Georgia girl, I don’t do cold real well. Don’t judge.
It has gotten colder than that. We had a freeze warning last week. I looked on my weather app, and there was the telltale exclamation point. Click on that and it goes to the screen that basically says the temperature is going into the 20’s and instructs folks to bring in plants, take care of pets, and to check their water pipes.
Cold weather has long been something we watched for. When a cold front was headed in, Mama would plan to run laundry late at night to keep water running through the pipes. I believe there were even times that she kept a faucet dripping very slowly, but I might be misremembering that. Daddy wrapped the outside faucets and kept a light on in his building out back. In more recent years, he put a lightbulb in the wellhouse. When the temperature was expected to go below a certain point, he would turn it on, and it would keep the well from freezing up. During Mama’s HospitalStay back in January and February, her sweet Neighbors went over and turned it on. They knew the system, and we never had to worry.
I knew of one Grand Lady who ran a bathtub of water before storms, and I think she did that when it was going to get cold too. I guess it was to use for incidentals in case the power went out or the pipes did freeze.
I remember looking at the newspaper in the mornings when I was growing up. On the same page up at the top every morning, they had the picture weather forecast. Sometimes we would turn the news on at the very end just to catch the forecast. I’ve also been known to shush my children in times of questionable weather when a meteorologist would come on the radio. I loved that Grand Lady had a weather radio and would call me if it went off with a warning of the weather to come.
My favorite way to check the weather has evolved from all of those. The weather app on my phone. It’s not always accurate in forecasting as far out as ten days, but I like knowing what the temperature is and what to expect tomorrow. I check it at least once a day.
Just the other night I was thinking about the freeze warnings that get issued when the temperature is going to drop. And then I realized what app I’d really like to have. A freeze warning for life. An app that forecasts when trouble is coming or hard times or sadness. A warning to buckle down, get prepared, turn on the light, and bring in all of my tender “shoots and blossoms,” to protect my feelings and heart and soul from the severity of what is ahead. The one that would let me know to wear a coat and scarf and gloves to ward off the dangers on their way. It seems lately that more and more often these harsh times come with little or no warning, and I am left with a part of myself that has died off, frozen beyond being able to rebound back to life. Or I have watched it happen to someone I love. How I would love the “Freeze warning for life” app! I would be a good trustee of it, using it only for good. I know it wouldn’t be able to stop the bad weather from coming, but it would be able to warn us, so we could be better prepared and batten down the hatches and protect our hearts.
Today a friend asked my daughter about her not being able to eat something from the place where we were because of her food allergy. I heard our Princess say in her matter of fact way, shrugging her shoulders,”Life is tragic.”
Out. of. the. mouths. of. babes.
Yes, my dear child, it is. And you don’t even know the half of it yet. But I have others, whom I also love very dearly who know near about as well as I do, LIFE IS HARD. Frost can come on suddenly and unexpectedly. Sometimes it can make you want to find the closest cave, tuck your head under a pile of blankets and never come out. Those cold snaps of life can nearly break you in two. I know. I’ve been through a few.
When the cold weather hits, I seek comfort. Candles and lamps to fight off the dark, a fire and blankets and my long johns to ward against the cold. Apple cider or a good cup of coffee and a Lucia Pepparkakor cookie can bring comfort and warmth and peace. Sitting close with those I love can bring peace and comfort and warmth as well. It’s the same thing when something unexpected or tragic happens in my life. I seek comfort. I look to those I love the most for a hand to hold, for their wisdom, and for love. I find my favorite blanket and cuddle up close. And wait for the cold to pass.
In the end I agree with Edith Sitwell, a British poet and critic in the first half of the twentieth century. Whether it’s the cold of winter or the cold of life that hits, my soul cries out for that comfort and peace and warmth, and indeed these are the only things that can get me through until spring and hope can come once again…..to our earth as well as my heart.