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Weary of Winter #diewinterdie

I was determined to change my tune this year and learn to love ice and snow. My plan was to write a paean to the pleasures of winter in the Berkshires: ice skating, evening drinks in front of a woodstove, the brilliant northeast skies after a big snowstorm.

Thermometer reading cold!Bill Siever, managing editor at Berkshire Publishing, was going to be my guide. Bill is gung-ho about cold weather. He likes it when the temperature dips so low that the trees start to pop. And he’s always got ideas about where to go and what to do outdoors. Here’s a link to a blog post he wrote about places to cross-country ski – something he whipped off when one of our authors happened to mention that his family might visit the Berkshires last winter.   But even Bill is complaining now about the winter that won’t end. We’re actually eager even for the time in early spring known as “Mud Season,” when dirt roads thaw into a kind of sucking mud that is as treacherous for car tires as snow and slush. I blame Bill for my current predicament: exactly two months ago today I slipped and broke my wrist. I can only type for a few minutes without pain and I’ve been slowed down on a bunch of big projects.   Bill’s penance? He had to translate computer-transcribed emails that read, he complained, like something written by a person who’s spent a week in the desert eating peyote buttons. And he has had to ghost-write this newsletter for me, and deal with my cranky verbal editing.

Yak TraksMany friends have asked how I broke my wrist, assuming it was a glamorous skiing mishap. No such luck. I bought treads (“Yaktrax”) to be attached to ordinary shoes, as part of my “get out and enjoy the cold and snow this year” resolution. I wore them in icy Philadelphia during the American Library Association Midwinter conference without mishap. Bill and Tom dropped me at home in New York City on their way back to the Berkshires, and when I popped out to get milk, seeing the slushy streets after the latest snowstorm, I put the treads back on. My winter adventures came to a crashing end when I stepped off the street and onto the smooth threshold of the grocery store. My feet went flying out from under me—the coiled-wire treads turned my boots into ice skates. I broke my wrist – what is known, I learned today, as a FOOSH, Fracture On Out Stretched Hand. Winter casualties have been high, here in the Berkshires and in New York where emergency rooms have done a record business.

dragonThe medical assistant heard my story and said, “But Dr. Cohen just bought them for all of us!” Lesson number one: DON’T WEAR TREADS ON SMOOTH SURFACES!

Click here to read some tips on voice recognition and other tech tools for broken wrists.

forsythiaFinally, something more uplifting! Here’s a link to an article on my personal blog, about how I’ve filled my house with flowers this winter. My paperwhites (水仙花) bloomed in time for the Lunar New Year, which is considered good luck. I’m grateful for all the kind words I’ve received and want to share a favorite passage from The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson appropriate to this time of year. You’ll find it below. I feel rather like the sluggish copepod right now, but I know the renewal of spring is not far off.

Warm regards,

Karen Christensen

Karen Christensen 沈凯伦, CEO & Publisher

“Everywhere are the assurances that the cycle has come to the full, containing the means of its own renewal. There is the promise of a new spring in the very iciness of the winter sea, in the chilling of the water, which must, before many weeks, become so heavy that it will plunge downward, precipitating the overturn that is the first act in the drama of spring. There is the promise of new life in the small plantlike things that cling to the rocks of the underlying bottom, the almost formless polyps from which, in spring, a new generation of jellyfish will bud off and rise into the surface waters. There is unconscious purpose in the sluggish forms of the copepods hibernating on the bottom, safe from the surface storms, life sustained in their tiny bodies by the extra store of fat with which they went into this winter sleep.” –Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us

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