Thursday, December 7, 2017
From 50 to hell and back again
I don't know about Heaven and Hell in the afterlife. Or I do know. They don't exist. On the other hand they are always with us in life, lurking. Sometimes one might be expecting a guest appearance from one or the other, but mostly we have our minds on other things when suddenly there one is, all around us.
I may have precipitously called "Winter" early this year. Right around Halloween the temperature took a swan dive, or maybe a penguin dive, plummeting and destroying everything in its path. But after a fair handful of days of bitter cold November cuddled up to us all here like a basket full of lonely kittens. For a month every day was mild and pleasant.
When one lives in Minnesota, and there is a very mild November, one tends to start unconsciously thinking that Winter is going to be a breeze. And then, especially if one is me, which one is one-seven billionth of the time for everyone, or all the time for me, around the start of December one realizes that we are still a few weeks away from Winter even beginning.
It's a sobering consideration.
Shortly after one had that realization there was a day in the mid fifties here. Clouds gathered. In the early evening it started to rain, heavily. The world was saturated in a concerning way. And then the temperature fell off a cliff. Within a few hours it was 15 degrees out, ice was everywhere, and snow was falling on that.
"Okay." One said, phlegmatically.
And the next day I went out for my walk to get our car at the University.
"Bit cold out." One thought.
And then, as I slipped along my way, concentrating on the perilous walking, I realized I was so cold I was dying. Everything hurt. Wind tore into me. I employed every of the numerous scraps of clothing I had with me in the most effective manner possible, and I had quite a few items, but it was all to no avail.
I was in hell.
It was hell.
Didn't Dante say hell is frozen? Well I guess it was just then, and windy too. My nose and cheeks burned. I wondered curiously about frostbite. I whimpered. And I struggled on in a fog of agony for 14 blocks.
And then I realized I was not cold anymore. Hell had mysteriously lifted with the same mercuriality with which it descended. I looked around at my city. The air bit deliciously in my lungs. The hoi polloi had been weeded out from my walking paths. The great river, a legend of my country, lay ahead, mine and the strange birds. Snow and ice crunched under my able feet. Flurries of snow fell mysteriously from a blue sky.
And so I remembered again about Winter; like most things it feeds on one's dread but shows its stomach to love. Heaven and hell everywhere.