In Memory of Hibernations Past


It’s been a cold winter. No doubt about that. You acclimate or you hibernate.

There are pros and cons to both I supose. Hibernation allows you to recharge your batteries. Acclimation allows you to not be cowed by the elements. I’m not a super out-doorsy type so I try to blend the two in hopes of staying sane.

But it’s a real struggle to not totally give in to the hibernation. You see, hibernation and I have history.

You see when I was five I made a fateful decision. I didn’t know it was fateful and I don’t remember why I made it.  Perhaps I recalled the crappy gloves and boots and the frozen hands and feet from the year before. Or the awful, ear-piercing crunch of snow at fifteen below. I don’t know. History became legend and legend became myth.

The myth was a vow I made to not go outside while there was snow on the ground. This is not a light-hearted vow when you live in northern North Dakota and the snow can stay for five months at a time.

I remember looking out the window at the snow in the backyard wearing pajamas that I refused to take off. If I had known what a curse was I am sure I would have uttered it at the snow.

I remember Christmas that year. We would always go to my Aunt’s house. My Dad had to carry me to the car so my feet would not touch the snow. I am sure my parents loved that.

I wonder what fun in the snow I missed during my self-inflicted hibernation. And what a nightmare for my Mother to deal with a bottled-up hyper five year old and six other children.

So now with repeated sub-zero days I remember my year of hibernation. I confess that it calls to me. Warm the house up and look out the window with a cup of hot chocolate.

But I know it is a romanticized myth. I need to keep active. I need to fend off cabin fever. I need to acclimate. Even if I have to overdress, I will go out into the elements. As real out-doorsy types know there is an exhilaration from braving and surviving the elements. Fortunately, I can get that sense of exhilaration in about ten minutes or until my hands are cold. Cold hands take me back immediately to the year of hibernation.

So we juggle. Sometimes we juggle well. Sometime not so well.

This year I vow to acclimate. If a five year old can stick to a vow, so can I.

About joegergen

To evoke a smile. That's all. Author of "Methane Wars: A Fable" and "Lear's Fool" as well as various poems and some these painting things as well.
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