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  • Writer's pictureEmily Taylor

Baby It's Cold Outside

Color — Yellow

Incense — Lilac


It’s rather bemusing that today’s incense is Lilac. I love the smell of lilacs, don’t get me wrong, but the high temperature today is 12 degrees. The birds have been fluffing their feathers for warmth and have managed to almost empty the bird feeder after I filled it up this morning. Going out to fill it up highlighted how cold it was. The bottoms of the boots by the door were still damp from going out in the snow last night, so when I stepped down onto the cast iron mat, there was a tacky feeling as the soles stuck to the metal.

Despite the frigid temps, this winter has been concerningly dry and mild. This is the first real batch of snow and the first really cold temps we’ve had. Next week, we’re supposed to get up to the 40s and have two days of rain. This is not a normal Midwestern winter. And, having grown up and lived in an agricultural area all my life, I know that this weather is absolutely going to have an impact on farming in the Spring. I hate going on to social media and seeing people say: “Thank God we don’t have snow!” The focus on the immediate impact to them, while understandable, is incredibly short sighted. The freeze and the snow actually have a huge impact on what makes “the Breadbasket of America” actually produce food. The freeze in winter helps plants decompose and return their nutrients to the soil. The snowmelt in spring means that the ground doesn’t get oversaturated and run off but still gets moisture to replenish the underground water resources. If you grew up with well water, that water has to come from somewhere. Plus, without the snow to blanket the ground and help maintain soil temperature, we can actually kill off a lot of bugs and animals who burrow underground.

Plus, the wild weather we’re experiencing can also impact many other things. Going back to the incense of the day, last fall, in November, my lilac bush started blooming for the second time that year. The weather had been so warm, that it thought it was spring. I don’t know how the actual arrival of winter will affect my lilac bushes, but I really hope it doesn’t kill them off.

At this point, I’m truly empathizing with Jennifer Lawrence’s character in Don’t Look Up. The local news is doing bits on why you shouldn’t purposely get COVID, the ERs and ICUs are overwhelmed, the weather has gone mad, and it doesn’t bode well for the next growing season. Bari Weiss sat on Bill Mahar’s talk show, shouting about how she’s “Done with COVID” when kids are dying in ICUs because their parents can’t afford to take the time off for a lockdown. Believe me, I am absolutely aware that COVID fatigue is real, but just because we want to be “done” with it, doesn’t mean its done with us.

And so we wait and see if we survive all of this despite people. And I sit here and watch the birds and do crochet. Maybe I’ll actually finish the blanket I’m working on before my ADHD kicks in and I wander off on a different path. Maybe we’ll make it through this unscathed. Maybe I will get a chance to take my son on vacation without fear before he’s too old and off on a life of his own. Or maybe I’m just knitting in the shadow of a guillotine. Who knows.


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