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Freezing – Michael Morse

by Michael Morse, contributing writer

Water dripped on my snow shovel as the sun warmed my roof. Icicles formed where my hands were just yesterday, digging through six inches of powder and slush.

February warm in New England is twelve degrees, wind chill somewhere below zero. The nights are wicked; as the sun sets it takes with it any hope of reprieve from the chill.

Wind roars over the water, unhindered by obstacles until it meets the shore, where my home sits, some twenty feet above sea level. A blast of frozen salt air attacks me.

And I love it.

Stepping into the frozen landscape from my toasty warm house is an eye opener, my face freezes, hands go brittle, and shivers begin.

The mailbox is at the end of the drive, a perilous journey for an Arctic explorer, and I am not even close.

My short sleeve t-shirt and tired old jeans are no match for the elements, but the mission must be accomplished.

I slide my slippers over bare feet and set out, leaving coat, hat and gloves hanging by the door.

A girlie man would take five minutes to prepare, a real man laughs at the cold and blindly marches forward.

This is no country for old men, I say to myself, as the wind whips through my quickly disappearing hair. Breathing hurts, arctic air is meant for penguins, not people.

My destination is within reach – twenty feet, fifteen, ten, five…

I did not dash. I will not run. I will walk like a man.

Inside the mailbox waits news from a forgotten world, some flyers, the electric bill, and an advertisement for new windows.

It was worth the trip.

The return journey begins, and the urge to run overwhelms me.

Old me running on ice is a sight to behold, and I hope nobody sees the dainty dash up my driveway and back in, where I present my bounty to my bride.

Mission accomplished, and I rejoice, my work done for the day.

Life is good in winter, here by the sea.


Michael Morse spent 23 years as a firefighter/EMT with the Providence Fire Department before retiring in 2013 as Captain, Rescue Co. 5. He is an author of several books, most offering fellow firefighter/EMTs and the general population alike a poignant glimpse into one person’s journey through life, work and hope for the future. He is a Warwick resident.

To read more of Morse’s columns for RINewsToday, go to:


  1. Kathleen Morrison-Layton on February 21, 2022 at 2:50 pm

    I love it, too.

  2. Timothy Robinson on February 20, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    Very much enjoy reading how you are able to express your journeys through your career, and now into retirement. I spent 10 years as an active Volunteer firefighter, interjected as 2 yrs, 10 mo,& 2 dy’s with U.S.Army Fire Department, and followed up with 33yrs career with Baltimore Co FD. As EMT/Firefighter plus Fire liaison at 911 dispatch to finish out my career. Loved every minute, but age has it’s limits in the profession!