Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Sub Zero


Growing up in the Frozen North doesn't mean you don't get cold. It doesn't mean you don't feel like moving to Arizona every time January comes around. And windchill never becomes your friend. But it does mean we know cold. Yes, my brothers and I can tell you whether or not it's below 10 degrees, just by stepping outside and breathing in.

We know to start the cars early, keep our gas tanks full, and a snow shovel in the trunk. Blankets or extra coats can be found in the back seat. And there should be a coffee can, a candle and some matches hiding somewhere. Just in case. We can drive in absolutely any shoes (not to mention weather) because we learned to drive in snow-boots. And there's a. lot. of talk about weather... windchill, visibility, extended forecasts.

And long about this time of year, when the serious weather starts to set in: windchill consistently below zero, we kinda give in. Alright fine, it's time to get serious about this whole warmth thing. We heat up rice socks to take to bed (unless your room is mine, and one of the warmest in the house). And the night before work, we'll set out our warm clothes: fleece-lined leggings, the jeans that fit over them, legit wool socks, tennis shoes for work, snow-boots for just-in-case; layered tops; the real gloves, hat, scarf, and coat.

In the morning when you put all this on, you check your weather app to see if this is really necessary, and realize that the temperature has gone down to -4, and the windchill is now -25. So you start your car earlier still. Just in case the battery's dead, you need to have time for plan B. And if you need gas that morning as well, you put your visa in your glove so there's no looking for it at the last minute. Your keychain gets clipped to your pants, or the outside of your purse, again to minimize fumbling. And you find the key necessary before you leave the safety of the previous heater.

There is no way you skip breakfast. I'm not inclined to anyway, as you very well know. But there's nothing like a cold day to remind you that you need fuel. And hot drinks are the dearest friend of the Northern Adventurer. (It helps morale to give ourselves titles.) Hot coffee, hot tea. There's always some around, and you're always offering it to anyone who drops in, shivering. Even if they say no, you might hand them a cup just to warm their fingers. Hot cider and hot chocolate, after skiing or working outdoors. Mulled wine or a hot toddy for late in the evening.

If you're from the Tundra, armpit of the north, you know how to combat these negative-bazillion days. If you haven't got a fireplace, you load up on candles. (I have a drawer or two.) You get a music speaker, and take turns between Mel Torme and Florence and the Machine. Both are very good for getting the spirits up, in differing moods. You take a lot of fish oil, and do your writing in the natural window light whenever humanly possible. Some learn to crochet, because it's great for keeping the hands warm, others become more than usually helpful about washing dishes in warm water, or cooking around the stove (a personal favorite of mine, no surprise).

And you have to be a little more deliberate about fellowship and social gatherings. It takes a lot more to make those happen, but it's worth it to cheer up these cold monochromatic days. Any excuse is a good one for a party. Coffeeshops are great places to stay busy and connected at the same time. Every community connection becomes more precious as the winter creeps on. So keep reaching out; stay connected; stay warm. If you pop by my place I'll offer you a hot cup of something, or you can warm your hands in my dish water. I'll lend you a blanket and a sack of corn. We can catch up on Sherlock.
I'll give you a Hygge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It got cold here this weekend. Cold for Georgia anyway. It ain't nothin like ya'lls cold tho!! Brrrr!!! :-) Love the hot drinks, wool socks, and rice socks! Those are some of my favorite things to keep warm. We would love to see snow here. That was suppose to happen for us, but didn't. We did get a bit of ice that looked beautiful on the trees!! :-) ~tammy