In My Ohio

Cold Days

Darren C. Demaree
In the midst of thinking that we are no longer partners with our surrounding Ohio, that it has been too cold here lately, or that for a week or two we might all be better off living somewhere where the weather cannot corner us in our own homes, I was lifted before I fell asleep last night by the thought that there is no more absurd complaint to make than I wish that what surrounded me would do a better job of it.

I was warm, in bed of course, and the list of things that kept we warm is too long to dissect in an column such as this, but as I was re-hashing all of the complaints I hear about living in a place that welcomes all seasons at all times, I started to smile.

The complaints are many, they are un-varied, and often they remind me of people complaining about the jobs their politicians are doing after celebrating that their own votes led to the victory. Ohio is the most open of all states about what will be coming weather-wise. It’s everything. Everything but a hurricane is coming, and sometimes the absurdity of the sequence is enough to make you throw your hands in the air.

My advice is to throw your hands in the air in celebration. With every sliding, sometimes racing, degree we are presented with another opportunity to select Ohio again as an active part in our lives. Ohio is more than a battleground state. It is more than O-H- and our beloved (often maligned) sports teams. Ohio, more so than any other state, is in full flex of the belief that we are sharing this life together. Land and people, it’s an old fashioned approach that harkens back to when the suppleness of the land determined the success of the people. Our socio-economic development has taken our eyes away from the soil for the most part, but the relationship is still a real thing. To complain or even worse to flee, is to suggest that this simple marriage can fail you.

So, I repeat again the lines I have tattooed on my left shoulder. “How glad I am/to be so simple/as to write love poems/for a state shaped/like a swollen heart”. There is something comforting in knowing that there is nothing being held at bay by our deep muscle-shaped borders.

The jokes are good when the laughter follows. The unity of the laughing together brings us closer. The complaints are a never-ending ice path. Even if you salt the walk to your house, the complaint will begin to ice-over the wooden floors of your living room.

I love it when it’s cold. I love it when I can taste the cold. In Ohio the cold is never a cage. Honestly, it’s a kiss that reminds us there will be real warmth to follow. If you’re having trouble remembering that, try your best to be found cold by warm hands. Ohio, the land and the people, remember there are more people than land at this point, so much grand dimpling to touch and be touched by.