this joyful paralysis

I am still working my way through Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin, though it is undoubtedly no longer a seasonally-appropriate read.  Now, however, there is a bit of  new perspective in that I prepare to move to a land of seemingly endless winters.  It was this city I pondered, as I read these words late last night:

“People were thrilled by the sudden onset of so great and (they thought) so unprecedented a winter.  Even those who feared and hated cold weather and snow were quickly seduced by the silvery polar nights, and joined in a medieval pageant of sledding, gatherings by the fire, and evenings under the stars.  It was as if the occasional joyful paralysis that winter sometimes lays at the foot of Christmas had come for good.  Layers of clothing made the flesh more mysterious and enticing than it had been in many a year, a certain courtliness was restored, and the struggle against the elements reduced everyone in scale just enough for people to realize that one of the fundamental qualities of humanity was and would always be its delicacy.  The entranced citizens did not go to so many places or work as hard as they usually did, but they lived far better than they had ever lived.”

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