I wrote this a long time ago when I was looking after kids, living in the fridgid north.
In Canada that means so many things
that people just nod, knowingly.
Poetry and stories about snow and cold, and cabin fever.
What is not seen again until spring?
Who didn’t make it home again?
We walked through the football field near our house
My oldest pulling my youngest on the sled.
The snow was soft and higher than his knees.
He fell down so many times he wanted to leave his brother behind.
I walked the path around the perimeter,
“too long”, he said, “this way is shorter.”
There is a point in the field that all you can hear is your own breath and heart beat and there is so much snow that you are almost blind. If there is a wind, it is always cruel, because it is so much larger than you know you are.
Just a few yards from the edge, close enough for him to hear,
I said, “At least your not looking for the northpole, dragging your boats, eating lead poisoned food, and then each other, while the Innuit laugh at your madness.”
When he made it to the street he threw the rope at my feet and said, “You pull him!”
I told him, “Look, a settlement! We are saved!”
He didn’t laugh.
But I did. Smug. Another lesson in Canadian culture.
When we got home I made hot chocolate and we watched MTV.