Snowy streets. Icy sidewalks. After midnight. Freezing cold and no one in sight. The street lamps alone send chills through passersby. They seem so cold–narrow and metal, bone-chilling to the eye.
Bundled up though we are, the cold finds its way in. Up our pant legs and through our coat sleeves. The sting somehow finds its way past our tightly bound scarves, down our chests and over our backs.
“What’s the point in wearing any clothes at all? This is ridiculous,” a friend poses sarcastic and muffled, his mouth buried in his scarf.
“Please keep your clothes on. No one wants to see that,” I reply. We laugh.
We left the bar drunk, stumbling almost. The cold fixed that. Now a contingency of under, albeit well-dressed, friends walk eerily quiet to an after party. What a wonderful thing downtown is–everything close enough in the summer to walk to, and not far enough away in the winter to abstain from.
Now’s the time we wish we’d brought hats. Our ears flush in anger over our stupidity:“Was your hairstyle really that important? “, they snap.
Halfway there and this is the moment we remember that snow is beautiful only at a distance. On postcards or in Christmas movies. Snow shouldn’t actually exist, one decides in its company. Unless you’re a kid. Or a rookie. First winter in the Twin Cities? Yeah, it’s cute for about five minutes.
“Ahhhh!” a cry rings out from behind. I turn to see one of my friends sitting on the ice, the latest victim of winter gravity. Everyone stops and turns to look, but we hesitate to help him to his feet. Such a gutsy move begs the ice to knock your feet from under you as well. We all wait for someone else to offer a hand. What polite people we become in the winter.
Once he’s back on his feet, we continue our trek. We pass dark shops and restaurants. We see lonely sidewalk cafes, months away from their summer glory. And we remain quiet. Waiting for a shout from the next man down, maybe. Focused on staying warm and making it inside, sure. Knowing it’s worth every moment, definitely.