Laura guided Mary through the lean-to, and they all burst out into the glittering cold. The sun glare blinded them and the cold took their breath away.
“Throw back your arms and breathe deep, deep!” Laura cried. She knew that cold is not so cold if you are not afraid of it. They threw back their arms and breathed the cold in, and through their cringing noses it rushed deep into their chests and warmed them all over. Even Mary laughed aloud.
—The Long Winter, Laura Ingalls Wilder
Three times now, J and I have hopped a plane a few days before Christmas, heading south to spend the holidays with our families in Texas. Inevitably, we hear the same question a few dozen times: “How’s your winter up there in Boston?”
What most Texans don’t know – and what we didn’t know before we moved here – is that winter in Boston really starts in January.
In 2010, we flew back from Dallas to find our cars half buried in 14 inches of snow – a shocking introduction to Northeastern winters. This year, we only found a few inches of snow (now melted), but the below-freezing temps – including a couple of single-digit mornings – have more than made up for that. (We did have a rogue 60-degree day recently, but the temps are on their way back down.)
I’ve been bundling up in my down jacket, complete with scarf, hat and gloves; wearing my faux-fur-lined boots with tights and knee socks; and marveling at how much warmer 30 degrees feels than 8. (Yes, eight. With a windchill of -5.)
But I am also trying to take Laura’s advice – maybe not throwing back my arms, but remembering to breathe deeply, and plunge on ahead through the cold. Since Laura survived her share of bitter prairie winters, I figure she knows what she’s talking about.