In the balance…

My feet are rough, toenails are sharp. It is the time of skin rebelling all over. No light, no warmth nor moisture. The sheets suffer my rough skin. My fingertips catch minute snags on clothing, rough edges of skin toughened by carrying wood, wielding shovels and the sharp dryness of too much washing. I long to feel the warm earth between my fingers, to dig and plant and squelch the mud between my toes.

Today, I met a man whose finger tips were blackened by frostbite. His body was wracked by hard living. As he reached for the tasting cup I offered, his hands shook and he concentrated on gripping the fragile paper vessel. His wife was sweet and solicitous without being cloying or apologetic. His blackened, curled fingers didn’t stop him from reveling in the tastes. I imagined him perhaps was a logger or someone who had spent most of his life out in the elements. Winters can be cruel.

As dry as it is, there is water everywhere I look. The deep fluffy snow, the hard-packed slush that drips from the car, the icicles that threaten my doors and windows. With so much moisture, the air is crackling dry. Sparks fly when I pat the cat; pulling a sweater over my head creates a halo of static-filled hair. Where is the balance?

It’s strangely dark mid-day in the house. The skylights are shrouded in snow. The light beyond my windows is weak but brighter than inside. I would think the snow would bounce it back through the glass, but it seems to merely absorb it silently.

Somewhere between light and dark, moist and dry, there will be a balance in life as we climb the steep slope to spring…



14 thoughts on “In the balance…

  1. Now those are icicles. You would think the light would reflect off the snow – but it seems to absorb it like sound….making it all seem even more chilling in many ways.
    Take care up there. (and rough skin ugh – been hiding under the sockies. Hands all scratched and chipped from dried branches and yard work here….someday I’ll be forced to wear gloves)
    Stay warm

  2. Well said.

    There, too, is that vicious cycle of drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, frequent trips to the bathroom as a result, subsequent washing of hands and then applying lotion to keep them moist.


    • The icicles don’t bode well for my roof as they indicate ice dams beneath. Hoping for a warm day when I can knock them down and try to rake the snow off a bit. I’ll take your humidity any day!!

  3. When I am home, I don’t go out much in winter. I don’t like the cold and the bundling. As a result, I am lucky I don’t suffer from the dry skin which comes along with winter. I do keep a very large pan of water on the woodstove to keep the moisture in the house. Be careful around those icicles!

    • The bundling up does become a pain, also the racks for drying all those wet boots and jackets, mittens, gloves, socks….

      Pans of water on all the floor registers and lots of huge plants help keep the house hydrated but my skin still suffers…

  4. We may not have your snow or huge icicles but I still have horrible winter skiin. My fingers are sore and my lips cracked. Beeswax balm is the only thing that keeps me sane and I carry a tube in my pocket at all times. So far I’ve hardly noticed the days getting longer because I work such long hours but I look forward to walking home in the light.

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