Brrr! It’s cold here. Winter is nipping at our heels and the ice will not release its hold on driveways and walkways. The local lakes are studded with ice shacks. Our old house struggles to stay warm and the creaks and ticks of the radiators are a constant background static–White noise in a white world. Yesterday, temperatures were well below zero in the morning and only reached the single digits or teens in the afternoon. Last night after washing up from dinner, I checked the thermometer again. It was 4 degrees. Inspiration struck.
“Hey, do you guys want to go outside and blow bubbles?” I called to my daughters, both of whom are home from college for a few more days.
“Sure!” they answered. I was a bit taken aback, not expecting such an immediate positive response.
“Well, let’s make sure I can find the bubbles. I may have thrown them away in a fit of organization.”
“That’s why those are dangerous,” Adeline opined from the adjacent room.
Smiling and crossing my fingers, I opened the trash cupboard door and looked at the top shelf. There they were, right where I remembered–Three bottles of bubbles, a brightly colored set, still in their plastic packaging. “Here they are!” I called and the girls emerged from the family room. We ripped open the plastic and opened up the bottles then bundled up in our warmest winter gear. Pulling open the door, we quickly stepped outside, executing the New England Quick Step. (This seasonal body contortion is well known by antique home owners and involves exiting a building as rapidly as possibly by squeezing your body through as little an opening as possible to ensure as little heat as possible leaves the building.)
Once outside, the cold briefly took our breath away. The moon, a ripe waxing gibbous, shone brightly overhead and the snow sparkled with moonlight and from the spill of light through the windows. We quickly pulled out our plastic bubble wands and started blowing. At first the bubbles formed, sparkled in the frigid night air and then burst gently upon hitting the ground. “Maybe the bubble solution is too warm,” I said, expecting something more dramatic.
“Maybe it’s because our breath inside the bubbles is warm.” Lydia suggested.
“Oh, look!” Adeline said. She pointed to a bubble resting on the snow-covered table, its shiny surface transformed to a waxy sheen. She picked it up intact in her hand, laughing, then we watched it swiftly melt in her warm palm.
“Here are some on the ground!” Lydia called, a moment later, pointing to several bubbles by her feet.
We continued blowing and soon had accumulated several bubbles on the table and watched a few burst in air into frozen tendrils of solution. Our calls of “Look at this one!” “Here’s another!” and “Oooh! That’s a good one!” echoed through the night.
We didn’t last too long in the winter cold. Soon we blew our last few bubbles and hurried indoors, welcoming the blast of heat as we slipped inside and out of our heavy coats.
I had hoped for temporary bubble magic, but what I found was more enduring. As bitterly cold as it was outside, I tucked away this moment with my girls to treasure as a warming memory when they are back at school. Now, that’s magic.