Bitter Beauty

I’m writing this on the Lincoln Highway running west from DeKalb, IL, on my way to Des Moines. Wendy is driving. It’s so cold, I’m afraid to use a urinal.

The Midwestern and Southern states seem to have been taken by surprise by this cold. It’s all over the news, with places in Tennessee approaching farenheit zero and snow in Alabama. To Canadians, especially prairie Canadians, this may seem like old hat, and indeed Erin and I have had more than one person say, “well, this must be par for the course for you.” It’s not. But at least nobody’s blamed us for bringing the cold weather with us.

The situation in Illinois is weirder, however. It’s 9’F as I write this, but there’s no snow on the ground. Not a flake. The sky is a prairie blue and the ground is a rich mud colour. The farm buildings gleam. It looks like it should be a bright early spring day in March, or possibly a fresh post-harvest day in November. Then you stand outside and learn the difference.

We left Ontario when the province was in the midst of a storm warning and we drove through some heavy snow as we headed for the border, but it cleared up as we entered Michigan. I think we dodged a bullet. Driving through Michigan, we saw plenty of snow clouds pass us on their way to hit the eastern half of the state, and Ontario. The roads here are clear.

Everything is clear. It is a bitter beauty.

We stayed in DeKalb, IL, in the home of Wendy’s father-in-law and had a turkey dinner, possibly the second of many. We also had a roaring fire in the hearth, which is one of the great things about Christmas vacation.

We should be in Des Moines around 4 p.m., central time.

We got into Des Moines around then, and have spent a fair chunk of the evening decorating Christmas cookies. All are safe and well.

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