Well, we are having a brown winter this year, so nothing too exciting to photograph in the present. So, let’s go back in time (again). I’ve scanned some old b&w photos from days gone by.
What I remember about Iowa winters were lots of days off from school in the winter. The nuns at Holy Name would give us homework for days at a time, just to make sure we had work to do while we were snowed in. (And, of course, I reveled in checking off the assignments I completed.)
But I also remember piling on coats and mittens and scarves to go outside to play and coming in wet and cold and tired. I remember hot chocolate. I remember putting totally ice-crystalled mittens on the heater to melt and dry. I remember the smell. I remember not feeling my fingers and nose and toes. I remember how they burned when I felt them again.
I never learned to ski in Iowa, but I do remember sliding down just-big-enough hills all day on inner tubes, especially as I got older and I went sledding with friends on huge tractor inner tubes on Peterson Hill.
On Peterson Hill
An icy leftover of ancient glacier
mirrors a china blue plate of sky
that looks down on Iowa fields.
Bitter north winds slap against
this rise dotted with red-faced young.
Prairie children do not know mountains.
Nothing here leaps up to hamper their gaze.
They do not learn to strap skis to booted feet,
or slice down trails one by one standing up
or control their speed by a turn of ankle.
This slope is best for tractor inner tubes
that hold swaddled rumps a dozen at a time.
These riders learn to pull in exposed limbs
and lock arms as they bounce recklessly
against the slippery crust of winter.
Prairie children know the last one on is first to fly
and bottom is safest though bruised for days.
They learn to love most that frozen moment
when one sudden bump suspends them all
above blue ice—holding each other’s breath.