Friday, January 16, 2015

Well adapted

Another sub zero day for my morning walk. I'm no hero, no tough guy, no arctic explorer. I just have to get somewhere that's 3.5 miles away. I have no better way to do that than walking. I put on my endless layers of clothes until I am unbearably hot, and I step outside. It is minus 7, but I can't tell. It doesn't feel so cold to me. Maybe it's because it's not windy, really there's just a light breeze, and sun. I crunch along the brittle snow. Did you know that here in Minnesota we have over a thousand adjectives we can use to describe snow? Some of those adjectives don't make a huge amount of sense, like "juicy snow", some run to redundancy, like "cold snow", but still, over a thousand adjectives is a lot and goes to show how concerned we are about the snow. We talk about little else, and why would we? Snow expresses everything about us.

I walk through my neighborhood, breath steaming lightly. The world is white and grey/brown. All those sprawling, bare trees. The streets are lightly sprinkled with crows, cats, lost gloves. About half way to my destination (my car) I realize that I am not getting colder. No, it is minus 7 and I am actually sweltering. I spend too much time under the delusion that I couldn't possibly remove any of my clothes in such weather, but once it's clear to me that I can, I start peeling layers. My coat comes off. I tie it around my waist. One of my hats must be folded higher up. One comes off. As I cross the mighty Mississippi I expect bitter winds on the bridge, the need to add layers. But no, the icy winds are merely refreshing. My mittens, warm and wet, have to come off. Nearly at my car, my scarf comes off, radiating heat, and my final hat. I am now dressed for a pleasant fall afternoon. It is no act of hardiness, no hubris, no showing off. I am steaming. I am comfortable. The battle is over.

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