Colder Still

December 13, 2010

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Last week, my column discussed the cold of the Midwest. I waxed poetic about the joys of winter and how much good comes from a cold spell of weather. Tonight, as I see the forecast for overnight and tomorrow, the poet in me is curling up and pretending to go to the tropics. We expect temperatures to drop to negative eleven before dawn with wind chill of negative thirty. I do believe that this is, in fact, cold enough.

The rural schools are already closing for tomorrow. The reasons range from broken water mains, insufficient heating, and wind chill dangers waiting for the bus. I am very supportive of such preemptory actions; safety of the children should be very high in the priorities of any school. I only wish I was still in school. I am fortunate to have a garage (unheated but still enclosed) so my start should not be that bad. I remember the days of living in an apartment and waiting for the car to warm up while scraping frost and ice from the windows. The coldest part of my day will be the walk in from the parking lot and the trip home at night.

I watched several football games in the comfort of my home. The games in New York and Pittsburgh were cold rain expecting snow later. The game in Chicago was all snow expecting the frigid cold that we are expecting to follow tonight.

Now all of this weather will pass. In the next week it should warm up enough to snow. The kids will like that, but driving in the frigid cold is much easier than driving in snow. I do enjoy the changes (here is the poet coming out again). This bitter cold will only make the warm up sweeter. The snow will be nice for Christmas. The best course for all of us in the path of winter storms is to remain safe. Unless you are properly prepared, stay in doors. Bad weather always provides a good opportunity to write, read, watch old movies and develop relationships. Even though it will be very cold, I will still enjoy it, and I hope you do, too.

Is It Cold Yet?

December 6, 2010

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Garrison Keillor once wrote that in Minnesota, people do not complain about the cold. You see, everyone can feel it, so why complain. I do not quite live in Minnesota, and my wife is a southern girl, so there is plenty of complaining in my house. I personally like the cold, all of the bugs die and you have a reason to stay snug in your house with a fire on the hearth and hot cocoa in your mug.

Today will be cold across most of the nation, with temperatures even tumbling in Texas and Florida. I live about 250 miles straight west of Chicago. We expect morning temperatures to be near single digits, with a wind chill near zero all day (Fahrenheit not Celsius). Although I sometimes walk to work, tomorrow will not be one of those days. I will, however, still brave the cold to go to a gym to work out.

I still have a positive attitude about winter. We have had our first snow fall, it was only about two inches and the streets are already cleared. The sky as been clear, so the sun is bright, making the scenery especially nice. This feeling will change by the time February rolls around. Eighty days of cold with increasing cloudiness makes thing dreary. I do not often suffer from cabin fever, but I know a lot of people who do.

The best solution to cold weather is to actually get out in it. Breathe deeply the clean air. Feel the cold penetrate where you have not covered sufficiently. Move around and, after experiencing nature to its fullest, retreat to the comfort of your home or office. A short experience of the harshness of the season will make the comforts that much more delectable.

A couple of years ago, I drove by a construction site about this time of year. It was cold with sleet coming down. I commented that I was glad not to have that job. My teenage son disagreed. What could be better than getting to work outside? Especially when working on something you could point at to say you had built it? I appreciate his enthusiasm. Those men and women do have something to hold on to. I still have my comfortable office, which I still will not trade. Perhaps that kind of enthusiasm wanes with age (and stiffness).

I know that several negative twenty degree days are ahead. We can only hope that they are not consecutive. The local weather forecaster has asked “Is it cold enough for you?” My answer is yes. I am so glad that I live in an age and country with modern conveniences such as central heating. Keep writing and stay warm.