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viernes, enero 21, 2011

Coldest Night Of This Year (So Far)

There is a reason in history why colonial settlers in Eastern New York and Western New England packed up their families and all of their possessions, tied their livestock to a wagon and headed toward the setting sun. Yeah, it may have had something to do with soil depletion from bad farming practices. Or a sense of compelling adventure. But if you go out this evening, you'll figure out the western expansion and Manifest Destiny in about 3 minutes. Or less. Because in those demonstrative 3 minutes, your face will start to freeze, and your toes will begin to freeze, and your breath will seem inadequate, and you will find yourself hurrying to get back to whatever warmth you can find. Somewhere. Anywhere.

While you're running to the hearth, you can think briefly about descriptions of snow by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Or Max Frisch. Or Ole Rolvaag. Or Willa Cather. And you can think about how the Mohawk and the Iroquois and the other tribes that lived around here in large numbers knew something about cold and how to endure it, but that evidently they didn't tell that to the European invaders. No. They probably figured out that these pale, weak seeming people would eventually have to move elsewhere because they weren't cut out to stay, they weren't rugged enough to thrive here. Those Mohawks were right. Absolutely right. I'm not rugged enough to thrive here. They, however, just didn't count on how many people were going to arrive. And how many of these arrivals would be morons, or would decide for incomprehensible reasons including inertia to stay and try to do battle with the elements. They didn't figure that the Europeans when all was said and done were idiots.

Tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday night the forecast here is for -10 each night. Fahrenheit. Not Celsius. Fahrenheit. This is a temperature at which people and machines break down. And they break down quickly. You don't dare cry, because your tears will freeze on your face. This is a temperature at which sane persons-- I consider myself one of them-- contemplate leaving for Mexico or St. Lucia, basking under coco palms, snorkeling in Bahia Soliman, and, in general, concoct elaborate plans for escape to a warm places. Put another way, there is no reason why sane people should experience this kind of cold. And I regret that I will experience it in all its majesty if I leave this house this weekend.

Tonight is, as W.C. Fields so aptly put it, Not A Fit Night For Man Or Beast. Tomorrow and Sunday, ditto.

Stay warm. Be well.