Frozen fingers

I went out and shoveled today. No help for it; we got 8 inches of snow last night into this morning.  So I waited for it to stop, and then I waited for a break in the work-from-home workday, and then I went out and dug myself out. Or, well, dug myself out enough.

This snow-removal process entails putting on layers of clothes. A scarf, boots, gloves, winter coat. I bundle up like I’m going into the tundra, and then I start moving snow around, and I’m really not cold at all.

Except for my fingers. My fingers are almost instantly frozen, and it only gets worse the longer I’m out there. By the time I’m done, I feel like if I were to hit my hands against something too hard, my fingers might break right off.

When I was growing up in New England, I lived just under 2 miles from the High School and Junior High. Which is to say, I lived just inside the range at which a person could take the bus to and from school.

I understand that what constitutes “a lot of snow” varies by where you live. If you’re in the south, where snow is uncommon, towns aren’t equipped for it, and no one has ever learned to drive in it, it takes less than an inch of snow to warrant an emergency.  By comparison, I’ve had friends in New England describe six inches of snow as “a dusting” (and doesn’t that make you wonder how deep the dust is on their nightstand?)

It’s all relative. I remember going to school, when we lived in NE, when there was a foot of snow on the ground and more still falling.  The place gets snow.  And that’s not even to speak of the heinous cold, whether there was snow or not.

Like I said, I lived just inside the ride-to-school radius. So I, like virtually all of my friends, I was expected to walk to and from school. Even if there was a foot or more. C’mon, we’re hardy New England stock! We can take it!

Um, no. Not so much.

Actually I was very fortunate – as were my friends, by extension. My school was on the way to work for my Dad. And my friends houses were almost all on the way to school.  He’d take me, and pick them up along the way.

We might have had to walk home from school, but we rarely had to walk there.


Every once in a while, Dad wouldn’t be able to take us to school. He’d have to go into the office early, or be on a business trip. No Dad, no ride, no good.

And so today, as my hands were frozen just this side of numb, I remembered those cold mornings when I would have to walk to school. I could suddenly remember so vividly what it was like when I would get to school and go to unlock my locker with my well-and-truly-frozen hands. I could actually see me trying to “turn” my locker combination lock with the outside edges of my hand because my fingers were so numb – or so close to numb, because they still hurt – that they wouldn’t bend. It usually took multiple tries to get the combination right, because using my palms to try to exact fine motors skills was a losing proposition. And in the mean time, my fingers would start to get the rest of their feeling back, and I would feel the cold right through my bones, and they would ache.

What a great memory.

Who else is sick of winter?


About aka gringita
Flotsam generator. Amateur photographer. Avid traveler. Christ follower.

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