Cold in Florida

The weather has been rough this January by Florida standards. Not rough like in Winnepeg, Manitoba or Litchfield, Maine, but rough enough to potentially kill plants. At 31° Fahrenheit, the Beamans have had to cover their tender plants with tarps. Cheesecloth is too flimsy to prevent Jack Frost from curling and blackening the leaves of tender hibiscus, coleus, and poinsettia. Heavy covers work best. Here is a Before and After photo on our patio.

 

During our more than 50-year residency in Florida, it’s only snowed once–that time in 1987. Our children were kids then and used flattened cardboard boxes to slide gleefully down our hilly, corner lot.

 

Our Ski Adventures

Later in their teens, these same kids frolicked with us on a ski adventure in Snowshoe, W.V.

 

Later, we went with friends to Tahoe in Nevada, where snowflakes fluttered like confetti, floating like in a snow globe as we skied.

 

Our last ski trip was mostly a disaster. Silver Mountain, Idaho, is typically a lovely place to ski, but the January we went the snowy slopes hid sheets of ice underneath. Riding up to the top of the mountain in 20º temps, the wind felt fierce: Imagine a frosty giant violently shaking our gondola like an untethered baby carriage. After the briefest of runs, I chose to hang out in the lodge by a roaring fire, sipping hot chocolate. I had more respect for my tailbone than to risk exercising in ski gear that time, but I did capture a lovely view of the lodge at night, après Christmas season.

 

Ted’s Wild Ski Adventure

Of course, ski adventures can go awry in other ways as Teddy Bear Ted discovered in his own foray onto the slopes.

These still shots are from Jacqui Lawson’s animated videos, which I can’t reproduce here, but if you are interested in a cute one-minute tale accompanied by the music of “Roses from the South,” let me know in Comments and I’ll email the link to you by week’s end.

 

Snaps of Winter Adventures from The New Yorker

 

Shakespeare, a poet for all seasons, teases out life lessons through metaphors of winter winds and freezing skies, the stanzas below from As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

 

 

 

 

 

The poet may be saying that Winter winds, as harsh as they may be, are not as unkind as man’s ingratitude. And though the weather is freezing, its bite is not as harsh as the ungratefulness of human beings, which may mask itself behind a friendly, but duplicitous demeanor.

If you find other meanings from the two stanzas, let us know in Comments.

 


Melissa Kirsch, a contributor to The New Yorker expresses some of the perils in winter sports in her piece “Going Downhill” published February 25, 2023. Here are some takeaways I’ve discovered:

There are many reasons not to ski, and I’ve availed myself of most of them over the past two decades when asked why I gave up an activity I’d once loved. Cost was high on the list, followed by inconvenience, cold and risk to life and limb.

I’d forgotten how much fun it is to socialize while doing something active. You chat on the lift, then you get some alone time to think while you ski, and pick up the conversation again at the next meeting point. Socializing with breaks! And without phones!

And let us not forget nature, as I nearly did, so focused was I on not falling. Once I’d regained my form, I could take in the frosty pines, the limited winter palate of sky and snow. I was a city-dwelling cliché, but that didn’t diminish the wonder.

The confidence I felt at rediscovering a skill was intoxicating. What else could I return to that I’d given up? Perhaps I should take up the clarinet again. Would my fingers naturally remember how to play “Eye of the Tiger”? Unlikely! But being a beginner has its own benefits.

Kirsch continues: “What have you given up that you might return to? What long-dormant skill might you jostle awake?”

 

Job 38:22, King James Version

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, . . ?

 

Movie still shot, 1946 – My mother pulling my sister and me on a sled with Sporty looking on

 


What winter sports have you enjoyed? Skiing, snow-shoeing, sledding, or ice skating?

As Melissa Kirsch suggests, aside from winter sports, what else could you return to that you have given up?