I set out into the frosted air. My breath clung around me in a mist.
As a kid, I remembered sitting there on the cold days, exhaling the entirety of my lungs and watching my air swirl coldly in front of me. All kids do this, there is a certain magic in watching Carbon Dioxide swirl and dissipate.
Now, my air swirls around me, as I exhale my scarred lungs. Too many cigarettes have cut my breathe to half of what it used to be.
As a kid, I watched in wonder. It was nothing if not one of the great mystical things about living. Air, an invisible driving life force. My prepubescent face stared in amazement.
I pull a scarf to my face, shielding from the ice bite of the air. My air disappears, as it pours into fabric. Making my way to warmth. My gate is quick and purposeful. To get from point A to point B. To escape the cold.
As a kid, rosy red cheeks burned bright from chilled temperatures. I still stood, smiling and exhaling watching the magic of winter. Snow crunched beneath my feet. The best part of snow always had to be a few days later, when the top became a slick shiny sheet of ice. The crunch of breaking through the ice to soft snow, I would stomp around leaving open holes as my weight broke the ice and buried my foot into soft fresh snow.
The trees are dead. Not dead, just hiding inside themselves. Weathering the storm. Along the way, I plod through snow, cursing as it finds its way into my shoe, attacking ankles with a sudden chill before melting and making my feet wet and frigid.
As a kid, I didn’t need my mittens. The snow numbed my fingers quick enough. I couldn’t create the perfect snowball inside gloves. The fabric didn’t allow me to perfectly smooth my sphere of white winter. The ground remained covered in beautiful white wash, giving me an opportunity to sculpt and create. From snowballs to snowmen, the world remained in my grasp.
Hands shoved tightly into pockets, as deep as possible. As if the deeper I pushed them, the more warmth I would find for my ten digits. The cut of winter made my hands feel raw. My bones felt brittle, a pain resonating deep in the joints. Gloves didn’t afford me the luxury of texting on the sleek screen of my iPhone. I couldn’t update social media on my disdain for all things wintery. Snow swirled around, finding its way to any exposed skin, forcing me to constantly plug holes in my winter wear armor, as if a captain plugging holes on my sinking ship. As soon as one leak was fixed, another sprung. The frost permeated.
As a kid, I would not go inside until the dangers of hypothermia set in. Under my jacket was a small frame, soaked in sweat from running and rolling and twirling through patches of glorious white. My nose leaked snot down my face, and wipe after wipe of the coat sleeve did not stop the flowing river. It flowed so much I wouldn’t even wipe anymore, just let it sit freezing to my philtrum.
My glasses irritatingly fog up. The fight between single digit temperatures and my body heat blinding me. I trudge, sighing, hands working there way around a group of keys in my packet. I chastise myself for not starting the car and giving it time to heat up. Now, I would have to sit longer in the tundra.
As a kid, snow caked the surfaces of my jacket, it crawled over the lip of my collar and down to meet my sweat soaked shirt. The mixture almost refreshed while simultaneously making me shout out at it’s icy bite. My nose shined red as my hands and cheeks. I would not go inside until forced to do so. The snow left me wild and free. Whatever stung from overexposure would be dealt with accordingly, with hot cup of cocoa.
My black coffee could only do its best at warming me from the inside out. It burned, as the bitter black liquid made its way down to my stomach. Without the coffee, the frost might be completely unbearable. As the car stuttered on and cold air blew through vents, I clenched tightly into my large frame. Clenching my cup of bitter warmth, I weathered the weather.
As a kid, I would kick the snow as best I could from my shoes. Shaking wildly, snow would fly from lapels. Stripping my cold, wet clothes off, creating a puddle in the mud room. The cherub red faced boy I was, smiled as he stripped down to boxers. Shrieking, I ran happily for the warmth of the kitchen to make sweet, chocolatey warmth. Finding a blanket, I would wrap my naked body into its dry warmth, shaking off the shivers of a good time.
As warmth filled the car, I gently released the tightness of my muscles. Relaxing my hand on the coffee, I take a sip before placing it in a holder. My other hand retreats from jacket to pull my glasses from my face and wipe them down. As the onslaught of cold finally diminishes, I sigh before putting the car in reverse. The crunch of tires attempting to grab traction, before sliding. I curse the snow. I head off to a day of dealing with people I don’t want to deal with, thinking only of refilling my cup of blackness and when the wintry mess would disappear and bring warmer climates.
As a kid, I knew the magic of frosted air and frigid snowy landscapes. I knew beauty in the season.
As an adult, I shuffle through life, hoping the next season brings better tithings.
Briton Underwood, better known as Punk Rock Papa, is a parent above all else. When he gets sick of being at their beck and call, he likes to escape to his page or site. He writes about any and everything he wants, but mainly about his twin boys or his newest addition- another boy. He also would like the world to know he has a beautiful wife, because the couch isn’t that comfy.