Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow, Cold, and Holiday Warmth

Less than a month ago, I was sounding the "where's winter in Driggs" alarm. Now, after only three weeks of Idaho snow and cold, warmth seems like a nebulous concept that must be years away. Funny how short-term our memories can be.

So, we've settled (er, frozen) into winter mode. Everything just sort of slows down: driving, dressing, eating, thinking, moving...everything is more deliberate. But that's part of the allure of winter, really. It provides the occasion we need to catch up with ourselves.

Thirteen winters in Teton Valley have taught me to pounce on opportunities for fun during the short days of December. Accordingly, I squeezed in an afternoon snow bike ride with my extreme buddy Dave B and his tireless dog Kenai. We had moments of sun, snow squalls, great scenery and enough effort to get the endorphins going. Not bad.

A couple weeks of consistently below-zero nights have brought ice to the local creeks and streams. Bridger is still figuring out where it's safe to walk, so we keep an eye on him. It's a nearly full-time job.

As the holidays approach, I often find myself remembering the winters I spent in Denmark, over 20 years ago. The weather was relentlessly cold, windy and bleak - a lot like Driggs can be, but in Copenhagen there were no mountains in sight. Admirably, the Danish people made December the warmest, most enjoyable time of year through rich Christmas traditions, fun gatherings and the Scandinavian concept of "hyggelig." The closest English translation is "cozy," conveyed pretty well through this photo of a crackling fire and stockings. Hygge dig, og glaedelig Jul!

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