Sunday, April 02, 2006

The thaw

I slosh through the undisturbed sheet of virgin snow, breathing ever more heavily with each step. The snow feels denser, even wetter, today, making it hard work to walk through. Finally, I reach my goal, a forlorn-looking bench facing the lake. Nobody is as crazy as me, taking a walk by the lake when winter isn't over yet. Although it should be ending soon.

I brush the snow off the bench before sitting down. Despite doing so, I can still feel that cold piercing dampness seeping through onto my back and butt in doublequick time. To keep out the cold, I lift my feet, pull my thighs as close to my body as possible, wrap my arms around them and place my thermoflask in that little space in between.

Once I get comfortable and stop moving, it becomes dead quiet again. Winter has simply refused to yield its vice-like grip this year; Looks like Spring will be late in coming. The lake is still very much frozen over. The other side is too far to be seen. I wonder if anyone had ever attempted to skate across it.

I suppose I had come a little too early this year. Nothing is moving or stirring yet. Not even the wind is blowing, which has made the walk today slightly more tolerable. Maybe I should return a week later...

But wait, what's that I hear? I hold my breath and listen more intently. Yes, it is a dripping sound. I look around at the bare trees and see nothing. But of course I can see nothing. Silly me.

And wait, what's that I see? Something brown scampering along one of the branches, leaving behind a trail of falling snow. Why, it's a squirrel. The first to venture out after its slumber perhaps?

What's more, a piece of the lake is "missing". It had escaped me when I first sat down. Closer inspection (without getting up) reveals a piece of the ice had indeed broken off and melted.

I haven't sat down for more than ten minutes and I can feel myself shivering already. This, despite the multiple layers of clothing. Boy, it's really cold today. Much colder than usual. I gingerly poured myself a cup of hot tea, wrapping my hands around the cup for warmth. Then I remembered what a friend had told me. The coldest part of winter would be now.

It looks like I haven't turned up too early afterall. Without doubt, it has began.

And that scares me.

Akan Datang: Money matters

12 days to go.


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