It’s been hard to get out of bed the last couple of days. Cold. Way cold. A hundred thousand years of genetic memory yammers at me: “Don’t go out of the cave! There’s nothing out there but darkness, ice, hypothermia, and a sabre-tooth tiger.” But I put on the long johns and the thermal tee, the jeans and the flannel shirt, fat socks and boots, the raglan-knit sweater, the headband, the hooded parka, the thinsulate gloves–and venture out to see if the 16-year-old Toyota with the five-year-old battery will start. Damn–it starts. I’m wearing so many layers I can’t reach over my shoulder to grab the seat belt; the air blowing out of the defroster is so cold I can feel my corneas crack.
I admit it. I’m a weenie about the cold. Having a sufficient amount of native paranoia, I don’t appreciate it when nature itself piles on. Ellen put it like this. “Most times you go outside, breathe in, and you don’t even notice. Mornings like this, you breathe in and say ‘I don’t think I want this stuff inside me.’” Humans are a little feeble in this regard. Ellen’s llamas are perfectly happy to stay out no matter the deepness of the cold–you can’t get them to go inside. Snow up to the hocks and piling on their backs–no problemo. Show-offs.
But for me, nothing seems right. Everything sounds different: trees pop and crack, the snow creaks underfoot. The birds shut up. Everything looks different: there is no softness to the light, the hardened stars hang untwinkling at night. And no part of my body is in contact with the world. It’s beautiful in the same way NASA photos are beautiful–sharp, severe, and experienced from a great distance. The Florida Keys would be about the right distance, I think.