Samuel is nineteen years old and he moved here late last winter with his parents, my brother and his wife. They had been living in Florida and only had a small piece of winter to contend with due to their late arrival. And then it was spring, a glorious Iowa spring with the scent of black dirt and a hint of lilac and peony. But for now young Sam is experiencing the full blown frontage of an endless Iowa winter and I can understand his withdrawal and bemoaning. I am cold and bored, Sam writes on facebook.
Warm(er) days around the corner?, writes Sam. What corner, I ask. The metaphysical corner of going from Winter to Spring, is his answer. Interesting use of the language. Perhaps a bit of the poet dwells in Samuel's soul. But last night was twenty-one degrees below zero with a twenty mile-an-hour wind. Therefore, the wind chill factor indicates the air will feel like sixty degrees below zero. We have charts for this. Wind can frostbite an ear lobe in minutes and midwesterners can calculate wind chill factor in a blink of a frosted eyelash. And last night was not even a record breaker in the Iowa log of extreme temps.
Against the greyness I fight back with color. Jamaican paintings of orange and turquoise, scarlet and pecan patterns on my rugs, the fuscia scarf I had to have. I am friendly with the staff at the library and big Bubba, the ticket seller at the movie theatre. Bird feeders outside my window to watch the comedy of bird life. And get down, dude, get down. Seriously, down feathers are undefeated in the war against ice. Down coat on my back and down comforter on my bed.
There is a certain amount of smugness that goes with surviving a winter on the prairie. We scoff at our friends and family who are snowbirds in warmer places living in trailer parks for three months and cooking meat loaves for endless potlucks. Stay away, you pitiful fair weather wusses. The real men and women live here in Iowa with their shovels and salt bags. Stay warm, Samuel, it will get better.