Confessions of a Cold Texan (Don't Bother If You're Not)
I'll admit it. I was cold.
Hands were throbbing, my feet felt misplaced (or lost, perhaps missing), and the whining (in both inner monologue and external moaning forms) was in full force.
No, we hadn't shoveled incessantly-falling snow like our fellow Michiganders, Mainers, North Dakotans or Iowans. We didn't need to eschew such lethal activities like, say, getting the mail.
However, submerging arms to elbows in cold water, in freezing temperatures, isn't a fun activity.
We've watched our unlucky Northern brethren shoulder outrageous wintry burdens while we cancel school at 30 degrees. When we lived in New York, even a most brutal snowstorm--which at the time was one of the worst the city had seen in years-- felt like a glowy adventure. I doubt this weather has felt like an adventure to anybody north of (or even near) the Mason-Dixon for weeks now.
I don't intend to make light of the curious weather this winter, although we are so laughably unconditioned to handle the idea of multiple nights of freezing air. Nobody knows what to do with icicles here. Never having experienced sub-zero climates, let alone the fearful temperatures of -50 degrees, each news report leaves me more and more bewildered.
Bewildered, and abashed by the enormity of my weenie-ness.
It was with this dim, slightly-guilty self-awareness that we set out to harvest last Saturday morning.
We arrived at 7 am.
After waiting 3 hours for the lettuce to thaw, we began cutting.
Then I began to wash the vegetables. More specifically, I began to dunk my hands in basins of well-water, over and over again, and it was there, around the 3-second mark after that first dunk, that I began my sad, pathetic song of woe.
I'll admit it. I was cold.
I had no business complaining, and I still don't. We have beautiful salad mix, just aching to be harvested and sold to cheerful, rose-cheeked customers. (The rose tinge we see here remains appealing and reminiscent of Rockwell greeting cards, not as a first sign of impending frostbite.)
And customers do show up for our lettuce. This is very good.
And the cold is good for controlling pests. This is also good.
And the serial dunking reminds me of how important and unappreciated proper circulation is, as well as how greatly I love my hands, especially when I can feel them. Good.
And we have heating in our home, where we are fortunate to have, and to which we gleefully retreat after all dunking is said and done. This is, you can deduce, incredibly good.
While reviewing photos from last Saturday, I realized that with each click to a new image my shoulders hunched, my toes curled and I'd somehow subconsciously draped myself with yet another blanket.
In other words, it was cold, and I wasn't over it yet.
So, instead of my intended story outlining how our salad mix gets from our ground to our customers, it felt only right to join the scads of Texans completely wigging out about the cold.
But you get the gist, yeah?
Lettuce grows from seed, we cut the lettuce, they get dunked in our stainless steel sinks, dry on a wire table, we bag it and bring it to market. And Casey curses a lot, about being cold.
It will feel a distant memory from the boxing ring that is July, but this weather right now feels very, very real. It's presence means many things, both grand and small: climate change and better-tasting brussels sprouts, city-wide propane shortages and cider by the fireplace.