In places where the ground is sure to freeze up in the winter I have heard that wise horse owners have a close look at their stock in the fall so that they may euthanize the animals they do not think will make it until spring. Winter is hard on animals and no animal should have to see a hole dug for it to be laid into before it is gone.
An old aunt of mine died this winter. She had not been herself for a long, long time. She was the oldest woman, the matriarch, in the family, a title now taken on by my mom.
My old aunt made a lot of wine, a lot of good wine. Not too many Scots are good at that sort of thing. She raised a good son, a man people look up to, who is left to call all his own shots on the great curling rink of life. In time his grief will pass, he will remember her well, as he remembers his long dead father, and he will finish the last of his mother's wine and move on.
I remember the New Year's Day party my old aunt threw every year. Her husband, a man who could tell stories well, would tell his stories and all the adults would compliment my aunt on her wine as they guzzled it down. The stories my uncle told were often set in his home province during winter. Prairie fuckers can never forget the cold; never forget the times they thought they could go for a walk without the protection of long johns which got them frostbite on their cock; never forget the perfectly curled stone by their perfectly drunk selves; never forget Canada as it once was; never forget the Canadian Dream.
An uncle reached a milestone birthday this winter as well. He is just about as old as corruption on Dope City's police department. He is doing well best as I can tell. He is a stoic man, like his father. Stoicism is something I admire. He has aged well because he has kept both his mind and his body in shape all his life. There is more to having a good life than that, bad luck, the Evil Joker in the deck, can beat the best of intentions any old time. Luckily for my uncle, for us all, there is plently of good luck in the shuffle as well.