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 Post subject: The pleasures of winter and the struggle for life.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:45 am 
White Lady
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:18 pm
Posts: 13964
Location: Eriksbråten, Skotterud
Sometimes, when I stand outside on the porch in the early morning, while the stars are still visible, and the sun is lurking under the horizon, making a stripe of orange pink behind the forest in the east, feeling the still air biting my cheeks and nose, the only bits of me that are exposed to the winter temperatures of 20 below, I feel awed. The thin shell of man made clothes between me and nature is the only thing that keeps me from freezing to death.

Also, the stack of plastic wrapped hay ensilage that I have just struggled with to carry a rugged portion to each horse, for them to fill their intestines to keep warm inside their balls of thick fur, is a blessing. An insurance for some more weeks of freezing weather, and the knowledge that there is more to be had, if we just get out there and earn money to pay for it. For the good farmer has worked all through the summer to collect enough grass for us to feed all our horses all winter.

The warm air coming from my lungs looks like thick smoke. My woolen mittens stick to the wet frost-free tap on the outside wall of the house. The tap has not frozen solid yet this year. That is a blessing too. I fill a couple of buckets and balance over the snow covered yard to get to the stabled horses to give them a drink. Their buckets freeze at once when left alone, because they are so small, so I rather give them a bucket several times a day. They are grateful. And gets back to their hay. They need to eat to keep warm.

I get a big armful of birch firewood that Alex chopped last spring. It is dry, and easy to carry. Our house is like a small cave of warmth under the tall, cold sky. Crispy with frost on the outside. How did we collect all this knowledge, to be able to survive so easily in such a climate? We have done so for thousands of years. Yeah, I know that we are starting to lose it now, when everyone is having electrically heated flats, garages, jobs and shopping centers, but still. We know how. Many of us do.

I get inside, keep my woolen slippers on, but take off the fur hat, down jacket and woolen mittens. The fireplace is still warm after Pelle got home half past twelve last night from his instruction job, and got himself a pizza before he went to bed. I always get the Cinderella feeling when I stir the cinders, get them glowing, and stuff three or four logs well into the embers and close the door to the fireplace exactly so much that the fire gets enough air. It soon is roaring.

The kids come down from their room. They are freezing in their woolen pyjamas, because the bedrooms are not much heated, and as soon as you get out from the duna blankets, you get cold. Sverre has lost his socks. I have more wool for them. We open the Christmas calendars, watch the fire and eat breakfast. We have hot oat porridge and backcurrant cordial.

Inside this little bubble of warmth you get grateful. For food. For stored energy. For knowledge inherited. For life.

Paradox is a pointer telling you to look beyond it. If paradoxes bother you, that betrays your deep desire for absolutes. The relativist treats a paradox merely as interesting, perhaps amusing or even, dreadful thought, educational.

Frank Herbert.

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