"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Plugged in to winter.

Well, after a good deal of thought
and waking up to 10 degrees on the little thermometer I have,
I decided to treat the old Chevy to an oil pan heater.
Warming up the oil during cold times makes me think of lubricating stiff old joints.
All of us mature girls benefit from some warm-ups before we get moving very fast.
And besides, I'm not fond of sitting in my cold car in the morning and after work as I wait the 10 minutes or so that is recommended to warm the engine. It's especially hard after I've been at the hospital all day and I just want to get "home" and relax with a cup of coffee.
So today I had the heater installed. The ideal thing would be a remote starter so the whole car would be warm and inviting when I got in, but I'm not about to go that far with this 8-year old car. But warming the oil is the next best thing.
To activate the heater I had to buy the cord to attach the car to the electric outlets.
These cords are called "arctic" and don't get stiff or crack to -58 degrees plus they have a little light to show that they are actually in a live power source.

It wasn't very chilly yet this afternoon but I may as well be using this new plug, so I connected it. Seems like an oxymoron to have a car with Texas license plates sport a heater plug.
I am quite proud that I have one, to be honest. Feel a bit more like I "belong".

There is something to be said for living where it gets cold. I did the math and I have lived 90% of my life in the northeast US. We had long and snowy winters and some hazardous ice storms and blizzards, particularly nor'easters. In that climate exists the challenge of staying warm despite the weather. It is the ancient conflict of man against the elements, if you will, and develops strength in both muscles (cutting and hauling wood to burn which we did for many years) and character (drawing close together for friendship and body warmth). It brings a real gratitude for home where one can take off the layers of coats and wrappings and "reveal" one's true self to the few that gather in that comforting place. And the climax of the conflict is the sheer survival of the winter months and rejoicing to see the first patch of brown grass in a spot where the snow has finally melted on a sunny April day!

Living in the south or west or southwest or southmidwest (however you want to geographically define Texas' location), we have mild winters with some cold, rainy days thrown in. Sometimes, like last February, we even have a little snow. But we no longer have a Tim-the-Toolman-Taylor snowblower (with hand warmers) nor snow shovels, nor ice scrapers, nor winter boots.
As my dear husband likes to say about the rare central Texas snow, "God put it there and God will take it away." He smiles knowing he won't have to move it in any way.

Here are some pictures from last winter's Texas snowstorm.
Our patio:

Our neighbors' frozen fountain with the palm tree behind it:

And Shoeless Joe waiting for the baseball snowman to throw the ball, already.

But, unlike Texas where a rare snowfall is here today and gone tomorrow, I am living in Alaska for a time and winter is just barely beginning since it is yet just October. But my face gets red and fingers need gloves when outdoors. When at a concert at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks the other day, I got a kick out of this statue of the first college president. Someone had taken pity and provided some comfort for his cold days and nights on campus. I'll bet you'd see a smile on his face if it wasn't covered up.

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