I have been so busy complaining about and trying to hide from the snow and ice and absolute grayness of this Winter that I forgot to notice that it hasn't, on the other hand, actually been very cold this Winter.
I don't know that I hate the cold. I mean, on the occasion I am personally cold I do find it miserable, maybe slightly less miserable than being hot, but probably not. That whimpering, shivering, unchangeable cold in my very bones is rough stuff, even dangerous.
But cold weather?
Of all the things that fascinated a boy who grew up in Southern California about a Northern Winter, the only one that still remains so alien and strange and compelling after all these years of familiarity, is cold, deep cold- extreme, minus something something degrees cold. There is something fascinating to me about air that simply, as is, is utterly frigid. Colder than any freezer. Colder than fake, produced cold. Colder than anything I can get anywhere else. Colder than I normally understand.
A patron came into the library tonight and I was wearing a thin stocking hat, as I regularly do these days. This person asked if a draft came in from the front doors and made me cold.
I thought. No. It didn't. But it was so cold outside that it radiated off of the patrons when they walked in. People came into our warmish library and for minutes just exuded cold they had been imbued with by merely being outside for a bit. The sheer coldness of the clothes of library patrons was chilling the library!
This happens with books too. They come in on the conveyer belt from outside and it's like they glow with cold, like they've been dipped in something magical and radioactive. I can feel the cold of them from five feet away. When I pick them up it's incredible. They are too cold to warm to my touch. There is something deep about their feel that penetrates so far into them that they become like other things. Things of a Winter world.
Tonight, when I leave to go home, I will step out into the minus five degree weather for a bit. I have done this hundreds of times now over the many years here in Minnesota. But even now when I anticipate it, I am curious.