I forgot what real cold is like. I always do.
In the humid heat of July, as sweat drips down my back and off my toes, I try to remember what being cold feels like. I try to re-create the chill, to feel it in my bones.
But I can’t. It’s just not possible.
I think I do. I think about how the wind whips across your face and snakes down the back of your neck. How your feet crunch wetly in the snow. How your skin cools and your nose brightens. And I’m sure I’ve captured it.
But that’s not what real cold is.
Real cold is that first gasp of air when you emerge in the morning. The one that tastes metallic and slightly tangy in your mouth. The one that burns down into your lungs, freezing the invisible little hairs in your nose.
Real cold is the shiver that remains in the meat of your thighs and the small of your back, even after hours and hours huddled under warm blankets.
Real cold is the blood shining through the new cracks in your hands and lips. The pink and white tightness of the scales on your knuckles.
Real cold is the smell of ice, salt and burnt tire rubber mixing sourly in parking lots gray with slush.
Real cold sparkles brightly, rejoicing in its cruelty.
It can’t be remembered. Only endured.
But that’s not all real cold is about.
It’s the earthy smell of fireplaces crackling merrily.
It’s the liquid velvet taste of hot chocolate on your tongue and the salty goodness of chicken soup in your throat.
It’s the sound of popcorn crunching and pillow fort building.
It’s evenings snuggled on the couch and afternoons lazing about.
Once the frenetic pace of summer returns, it’s impossible to re-create those quiet moments.
So as much as I hate this weather, as much as I want to scream and stomp my feet and beg for winter to retreat, I’m going to try to enjoy the gifts it brings us.
I’m going to turn on my fireplace, watch Tangled a few more times with my daughter and sneak in a few snuggles with my husband. Summer will return in its own sweet time. Watching the clock instead of enjoying my life won’t make it go any faster.
Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself today. Check back in mid-February. There may well be some foot stomping going on.