I just finished digging out the driveway and path to the door, complete with the hedgerow left by the city plow, because despite the Weather dot Com's radar showing clear skies above the Northwoods, it's been steadily snowing since last night. The snow's light and fluffy, and so easier to dig through than heavy stuff. I dug the drive out last night, a couple inches, and another inch or so this morning. I'd rather dig often than wait until there's six or so inches of heavy packed stuff.
I grew up in a part of the country where snow was a real rarity, and even a real frost was a couple-times-a-year thing. Moving to snow country, both here and in the LincolnLand State where I once lived, makes me think differently about the great outdoors.
Where I grew up, you could have ended up outside overnight most of the year without much serious damage. Sure, you would have felt chilly, but either moving around or getting minimal shelter would have solved that. Survival before westerners moved in and dug wells and such was more dependent on getting enough fresh water than on keeping warm. And when I was a Peace Corps volunteer, living in a rain forest area, I was always warm enough. Even drenched from the rain, I'd be reasonably warm (and drenched from the rain was a near daily occurance).
My folks tried to teach me to think ahead to be prepared for problems, especially when out driving alone. My car has flares, a flashlight, and so forth. I used to carry a gallon of water or more when I travelled. (Here, though, it would be frozen.) Now, I also carry a shovel, an extra jacket, gloves, and a warm sleeping bag, just in case, because around here keeping warm is vital.
Around here being careless in the cold will get you killed. There are times when it's so cold around here that they warn on the news that exposed skin will get frostbite within a minute or two. Last winter, the news had a spot on about some elderly person who'd gone missing. She was found the next morning not far from her house, having wandered in the middle of the night into the deadly cold.
If I were digging out some evening, slipped and whacked my head, it wouldn't take long before I'd die. And yet, I need to dig out, and so I do, trying to take reasonable precautions (decent boots, long johns, etc) without going nuts. At least if I were knocked unconscious, it would be an easy death, right? (Yeah, I'm that kind of an optimist.)
I want some sunshine!
I miss my old haunts where keeping warm wasn't a worry, really. I hate being cold.
But I sort of like being aware of my environment in a different way.