When I lived in Connecticut, I used to pretend the winter of the year before had never ended. I would sit out in the deep drifts of loose powder and mentally stitch the winters together into a coat of ice and solidity. Five a.m. would see me in the frost-bit yard in a haze of my own breath, piling twigs up as a fortress wall by the huge glacial rock out back. I’d come in at noon, chapped and red, hating the heat as it stung my hands back to life. The air was too sharp to take in by the nose, those days outside– you had to gulp it by the mouthful, and even still it cut your lungs.
What happened to that little snow queen? I think she melted away as sunny years slid by. The bite of icy air was replaced by the tangle of mangrove roots in her heart, thick clouds of mosquitoes, and summer rain saunas. She slowed to the alligator’s pace, became a swamp selkie, and forsook the glitter of the first frost. Content to bask in tannin-stained sun-soaked waters, she’s metamorphosed. I wouldn’t know her.