Connie and I waited out winter storm Juno before departing Rhode Island. Juno, the premiere Roman goddess, ancient defender of women’s rights. American Christians put up with this? An 80-hour chunk of the news cycle dedicated to a pagan goddess with feminist tendencies? Ask Jupiter about it, as always unattributed. I paid $50 to have our Toyota shoveled free. Juno was trying to keep us home, together by the wood stove. Hearth and home—the nucleus of female power, the core of distaff gravity. The road, the edges, those were male worlds. It was always the men who wandered away, the males that expanded the gene pool by arriving somewhere else.
Only, it was Connie who wanted to hit the road. “Snow? So what? Let’s go.” Come to think of it, when you see photographs of refugees, they are most often women, women and children. Connie was a willing refugee from winter; she was taking me with her. The derogatory term is snow birds—those geriatrics free enough to flee the northern freeze, to escape the torture of winterboarding. Derogatory based on envy. I like being referred to as a bird, even metaphorically.
For 26 years I had lived in the southern hemisphere tropics, where winter meant basically a little less rain and different plants blooming. I had a six-foot high poinsettia plant in my back yard that I had to cut back every 4th of July because it went crazy. I never wore shoes. The only snowballs we had was when I defrosted the freezer, and they did not last long. We tossed them off the balcony to die.
It would be nice to be warm again, to shed these layers of clothing. Connie is right. We are out of here. It is primordial. The womb was warm, and death is cold. Head south.