We did it. We made it through the polar punch. That’s what the National Weather Service’s map looked like heading into Tuesday night: a big pale blue boxing glove of subzero temperatures and dangerous windchill. Math problems like, “If Jimmy takes 30 minutes to put on enough clothing to shovel snow for 20 minutes in -12°F temperatures and 30 mph winds, how long will it take for his the tip of his nose to fall off?” fought snow day learning loss. If Jimmy threw a beer can into the wind, he could also have calculated the distance the wind could carry it depending on the amount of liquid still in the can. I found the beer can on Friday, if Jimmy needs to turn it in with his homework assignment.

There are still a few snow drifts melting here and there, as well as compacted ice flows. But the wind that blows as I write this is warmer—even balmy. The donkeys were stretched out in the lei of the pines at noon. One was fully supine, causing shouts of alarm from worried humans. His ear flicked and he raised his head slowly. When food was not in the offing, he lay back down to soak up more sun. There now tow stink beetles wintering in the window. If a third one appears, they may have to go. For right now, I applaud them for surviving the cold along with the rest of us.

The drifts are no longer a snowy white. Wednesday’s winds carried so much topsoil that it looked like nuclear fallout coated every surface from treetops to windshields to frozen bootprints. My friend Kim coined the stuff we have been coughing up since Tuesday night “cancer dirt.” I’ve heard a rumor that each Ohio county will receive five figures that will be earmarked for cover crops in 2019. Pssst! Pass it on .