With temperatures so low the mercury fell out the bottom of the thermometer, and wind chills sufficiently sharp to slice a steak, if held outside the door for more than a few seconds, Illinois has been a most inhospitable place this last week.
Winter metes out a raw and terrible punishment on any without adequate shelter, whether of the human species, or another.
The glory and joy of winter comes from the comfort of a centrally-heated home, with the additional warmth and glow of a log fire blazing in the hearth. The drifting scent of baking bread and mince pies from the oven add to a sense of contentment, and as dusk’s gray tinge advances upon the window panes, I rise to draw the drapes on a scene of icy desolation beyond the double glazing.
Momentarily, I pause, as on the ice covered earth beyond the pane a lone deer stands motionless, nervously eyeing the terrain. A young doe, probably one of last season’s fawns. Her gaze moves to the lighted window. I’m spotted. Suddenly, she’s gone, vanished, her flight distracting a squirrel busily searching for scraps at the base of an old Maple in the front yard. It darts swiftly up the bark to the safety of a nest high in the topmost branches.
The world beyond the window returns to lifeless desolation. The lone deer must continue to wander through the night, finding whatever sparse shelter can protect her from the biting cold. The squirrel will snuggle deep into its nest of twigs and leaves, and hope the wind blows not too strong.
I draw the drapes, return to my chair fronting the hearth, and reach for a warmed mince pie.
Filed under: Winter weather