John Straley writes that "Winter hardens us. These are its terms. It does not manifest its own hardness inside us, but stiffens the stuff we are already made of." I suppose you can take that two ways, hard like iron or death, or as I prefer, like the hardening off of seedlings so that they can bloom, produce fruit, and not wither in the wind or just up and die when night falls and the temperature drops or things don't quite work out the way they had planned.
So, at -2 degrees and blowing twenty, my dogs joyfully tear out the door for their walk, chasing tumbling seaweed. For them, our frozen beach might as well be in Mexico. A woman can learn a lot about hardy hearts from poets, and dogs, and the sunshine peaking through the crack between her neck gaiter and hat.