It is bitter weather today. Walking outside reminds me instantly that winter life in Michigan is not for the weak. There is a woman who lives across the road from us, who, each day starts her snow blower and clears her driveway. Her daughter stands on the porch, a pair of eyes peaking from her neck warmer and hat, watching her mother, amazed. I look at the two of them and think, women in the Midwest are pretty amazing. We possess a strength that is inherited from watching the women before us survive. We learn to take care of ourselves and our families without complaining. We survive together with knit mittens and knee high boots. We are a community that will not give up. We are strong. And when I think of Michigan in this way, my story becomes more than bitter weather and snow blower fumes. My story comes alive; and I am no longer tired. I am ready.