We Laugh in the Face of Winter

The air temperature was a brisk 10° Fahrenheit. A light snow fell from the sky. The weather forecast called for a high of about 20° Fahrenheit and another inch of snow. But we were undaunted.

We said, “We laugh in the face of winter!”

We made preparations to take our morning tea in the park, stroll along the beach at midday, and enjoy the finest of ice creams in the afternoon. When we pulled out of our driveway, we jammed to carefully-curated blend of Delta Rae, BØRNS, and the Zac Brown Band on our drive through the suburbs, past the highways, and out into the woods.

First stop: the Brecksville Reservation of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. After parking our car, we hiked about a mile through the snow to Deer Lick Cave. After climbing a frozen waterfall, we stopped within the shelter of the cavern to sip tea from our thermos. The kids plucked icicles as big as swords, as if extracting teeth from the mouth of the cave, and brandished them like skilled warriors. It was as enjoyable a morning in the park as any I could previously remember — but we couldn’t stay long. We still needed to make it to the beach and the ice cream parlor.

After a quick lunch in Independence, we drove through downtown Cleveland to Edgewater Beach. Surprisingly, the parking lot was not empty. Several others were there, leaning into the wind to walk dogs, take laps around the drifted trails, and gaze out across the frozen surface of Lake Erie from the pier. Still, it wasn’t crowded. The marbled gray sky met the marbled gray ice with an unconventional, austere beauty. We walked across the shallow ice. The kids made a structure that was half-sandcastle / half-snowman. But believe it or not, when we stepped back in the car we didn’t track in a single grain of sand with us.

After the beach, we made our way to Ohio City, where we capped off our adventures with some ice cream from Mitchell’s. It was a sweet finish to a fun day of laughing in the face of winter.

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