|The view from our deck recently. It's not quite this cold as I write this, but trust me, it will get there. Photo by Jeno Berta.|
As I write this, I am in bed (thanks Steve Jobs for my MacBook Air), watching the Packers game. Meanwhile, outside, the temperature is dropping like my college GPA after I had to keep taking French. School has been cancelled for tomorrow.
It is ugly cold. Now being half-Irish, I do try to be an optimist. However, optimism has its limits. One such limit is the reality that is early January in Iowa and for good measure, we're locked in a 20-year cold snap. If you're curious and/or have a sense of humor, you might ask, "So how cold is it?"
I'll offer this reply, compliments of our friends at the National Weather Service:
.AN ARCTIC AIR MASS AND INCREASING WINDS WILL ARRIVE ON SUNDAY MORNING AND CONTINUE INTO THE DAY ON TUESDAY. * WIND CHILL READINGS...AS LOW AS 44 BELOW. * TEMPERATURES...18 BELOW TO 6 ABOVE ZERO.
Yup, that's cold. And at some point, you simply have to embrace it for what it is: A temporary albeit unpleasant period of weather that severely limits your options.
Or does it?
I ask this because I firmly expect that even though tomorrow is a day that is (in both theory and practice) too "cold" for school, there will be kids out sledding tomorrow. Granted, not for all day, but they will be out there. Someone will cut a hole in the ice (and please, BE CAREFUL) and maybe catch dinner. Someone will clean out a closet, organize a drawer or do some other indoor task that would not make the To-Do List in warm weather months. In other words, it's our choice to how we deal with this cold. Sure, it is easy to seek to get into "hunker down mode." Again, as I type this, I'm in bed, under covers, and fully dressed. It's dumb to not accept the realities of the situation. Yet at the same time it is our choice to what significance we assign to these realities.
What do I mean? Well, how about this? How about saying that yes, in the words of Dean Martin, it is, (Baby) "...cold outside." but the cold does not have to define us. Make some hot coco, wear a Christmas sweater you secretly like, make homemade soup, read a book, write a letter (and mail it!) to a family member or friend. Take a moment to be thankful that you have a house to hang out in and that summer is coming. If necessary, go out to the garage and look at the lawn mower. Sooner or later, you'll get to run it again.
Here's to dealing with winter and finding the bright spots in it. And yes, I'll do my best to practice what I preach. Although I will be wearing my warm socks for many days to come.
Be well my friends and stay warm!