Life in a Northern Town

Life At Twenty Below Zero

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.

Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

Arctic Vortex— it's the catch phrase of the week. Evidently, there has been a breach in the jet stream and some very cold Arctic air made a break for the Gulf of Mexico. On its way to the Gulf Coast, it has spilled all sorts of snow and sub-zero temperatures across the country and it has been particularly generous with its frigid air to Northern Wisconsin. It was a balmy -20 when I woke up this morning and it stayed well below zero all day. On a positive note, the dogs get right down to business when we go outside, saunas are even sweeter when it's below zero and Ted's Kung Pao chicken tastes even better when the temperatures take a dive into the negative twenties.

The kids didn't have school today (or tomorrow, as it turns out) and at about noon, Will and I decided to leave Meghan and Charlie to their constant squabbling about the television and go on a photo safari. It was windy, cold and snowy— perfect conditions for capturing photos about life when an Arctic Vortex settles in for a visit.

At one point, Will looked at me and asked, 'why are our winter photo safaris in life threatening conditions'? I had a hard time answering because the wind was howling and pelting what little exposed skin I had with tremendously sharp snowflakes. We hopped back into the car and decided we should consider taking the photos from inside the car. Until we saw this turkey in an apple tree. There is nothing like a good shot to get two cold photo safarians back outside.

A gingerbread village among the apple trees— proof that life continues on, even in the grips of sub-zero, Arctic air.

Running water was a welcome sight on such a frozen day. I stood and listened, filling my ears with the sounds of water moving underneath a blanket of snow. There is life and movement everywhere— from a turkey in an apple tree to a sailboat outfitted with a wood structure to withstand winter's cold and snow.  It's all about adaptation, patience and perseverance— six months from now the summer solstice will be upon us, the trees will be cloaked in green and the water will flow unimpeded by snow and ice. Sure it's cold out but life goes on, even at twenty below zero.