I grew up with winters like a wet dog sitting in your lap, grey and sodden and sinking into your bones. It's a grim feeling, all muck and wet wool, warm bodies squeezed into damp spaces.
When I moved to Canada, the first winter was a thing of wonder. I had never seen icicles hanging off buildings, though I had drawn them as a child on impossible houses. I found my body had reactions for handling the cold that I had never known. I reveled in those bright and brittle days.
We've had a cold snap this week. And I feel the pain of it - I can't seem to get moisture back into my skin and my lungs hurt when I step outside. I'm tired of wearing snowboots, of breathing through my scarf and walking on salt-stained sidewalks
But I still love winter on these clear cold days when it gets way, way below zero. And I like how we insulate ourselves and become so insulated. On the bus people stay hunkered down inside hats and hoods and mitts and coats. Conversation is muffled and eyes narrow to slits. Minds seem strained on finding the shortest distance between two points and speeding up the getting there.
And it's all I remember of my week, the wrapping up, the hunkering down, watching my own slow exhale and then watching others do the same thing. Yesterday evening a low moon hung over my bus stop, an ice-blue shard in the sky.
It will be full on Saturday.