Monday, February 10, 2014

Deep Winter

And so here we are again. I find this blog is going much like many recent conversations. No one really has anything going on, no updates, just days trudging into days. The days pass quickly but without anything happening worth comment. Unless, of course, it has to do with the weather; nearly every conversation is about the weather. It's funny how people today often consider modern society separate from nature, yet we are massively impacted by the weather. Right now conversations are nurturing, but lives aren't about excitement, they are about stasis. This is a characteristic of deep Winter (I believe seasons should be capitalized, because they do, in most places around the world, play a huge role in our daily lives!). People are waiting - and preparing - for Summer.

Today I was given yet another reason to dislike the cold. Before moving to Missouri I never really had much of a problem with the cold; aside from the most basic desire for Summer. But the winters here are surprisingly much harsher than most Virginia winters (though this Winter is horrible, relatively speaking, almost everywhere) and I have seen what real cold can do! I can't even imagine how much worse it is further and further north (I can't even imagine how it is for Sissy in Chicago!).

Pulling my car into an icy spot in the parking deck today, I bumped my front bumper into the concrete barrier. A chunk of my bumper immediately cracked and snapped off. My bumper snapped! The purpose of a bumper is to bump into things, and since 1999 this car has certainly done some bumping. I'm convinced it was due to the FRIGID temperatures we've been having. I can't believe I am at a point in my life in which 25 degrees feels downright nice. The past few days (weeks!) have been unbelievably cold. And I know it gets so much worse in other places! Weather is such a relative experience.

Of course the cold this year has also prevented my dog from going on walks because it hurts her feet. And I've never had such dry skin in my life! Permanently dirty cars. Never warm enough gloves and aching, burning fingers. Oh and the falling. Lots of falling. Falling snow. Falling ice. Falling me.

But the great part about Winter is the crispness right before the beautiful newness of Spring. We wouldn't appreciate how wonderful Spring is without the Winter!

One thing that has really helped me cope with the cold is remembering the hottest I have ever been. This was standing at the elevator waiting to go to class in Dhaka surrounded by dozens of sweaty college students; this, after walking the dirt/gravel road - which was crowded, often muddy and sometimes flooded -  from the apartments. My face and body glistening - all of us glistening - and sweat dripping down my linen encased legs (the first time my legs ever dripped sweat). We often mentioned how ungodly hot it was standing there. It was worse, standing at that elevator, than standing in the sun.

That was the hottest I have ever been. And by golly, I never thought I'd miss it. The next time I am standing at that elevator, I will remind myself of days like this!

This is not the road from the apartments to the university, but it is a road very nearby. It was newly paved (concrete I think) and was, at least for a little while, easily one of the smoothest roads in Dhaka!

Stay warm everyone!

1 comment:

  1. The Midwest should be renamed the frozen tundra lands. I think winter flat out sucks there. Sure it gets worse in certain areas of the Midwest, but once you get to it’s friggin’ cold. . .well it's friggin’ cold no matter how low the temperature. Looking back on my arctic experiences, I appreciate them now. At the time I wanted to curse all hell for allowing temperatures to be able to drop to that range. I remember having water in my hair freeze after showering for work and walking outside to my car. It was that cold. But there's survivorship in it. Having gone through the process of living and making it out alive without becoming a solid block of ice is one of those badges you put on your board of life achievements.

    An oddity I realized, in my experience, is that the cold has an unusual effect of breeding niceness. People in extreme winter states tend to be nicer. Maybe they see the bitter bite of coldness and have plenty of stories about falling or crumbling bumpers, so they figure they can even out the world by infusing more kindness to the fellow man.

    Having moved to sunny San Diego, where the weather is more often perfect than not, I notice that people take it for granted. In places like Missouri or Illinois or Minnesota, there is a momentum behind summer and good weather in general. Most likely because you can feel your fingers again, but people know what the hellish alternative is and make an effort to really enjoy every last ray of sunshine. When it becomes so commonplace, it’s expected rather than enjoyed. So brave the winter, stay warm enough, hibernate aka Midwest for getting all your house projects done, and remember it could always be worse. . .we could be on Hoth.