Reflections on Art and Life
A winter memory from Poland, many years ago: Apocalyptic amounts of snow paralyze the entire country. Trains equipped with plows are not able to get through. Forget about buses and cars. Temperatures plunge into levels threatening human existence. The school is cancelled probably for the first time since World War II.
The stores are empty as food deliveries are impossible. My mother pulls an old loaf of bread from the cupboard. It is covered with green and white mold. She cries as she scrapes it off with a knife, then soaks it in water. She bakes it in a hot oven then serves it with butter melting over a crunchy crust and steamy hot soft center. No sign of mold anywhere.
I go outside and play with my friend. We push through the snowdrift up to our waists. The cold air penetrates our noses deep into the sinus cavities, first with a pinch of a tingle, then morphing into a headache. We feel defeated by the elements and come back home to thaw our stiff red hands and feet over the radiator. This is happiness.
©2016 Dosia McKay
Succinct, Vivid. Tangible. Personable.
The most potent aspect of this post is its illustrative quality. Some posts are read. Others are seen. And others still are experienced. For me, this one falls into the last category.
I was born and raised not in Poland but in Chicago, Illinois. Admittedly, I’m not as familiar with the typical harshness of Poland’s winters. However, I have lived through some terribly brutal winters in Chicago and other places across the United States.
On various occasions (both as a kid and an adult), I’ve trudged through near-immobilizing mounds of snow up to my thighs or waist. I’ve shivered fiercely in temperatures sometimes twenty to thirty degrees below zero (Fahrenheit). I’ve paled beneath darkened skies at noon that appeared more like the onset of dusk. And, as a child, I forged an ample amount of igloos, snowmen, and ice fortresses. So I personally relate to and appreciate this post.
This does bring back memories.
Well delivered, Ms. McKay.