Arctic Cold


A few years ago I posted the following after a fridged few days. It seems more appropriate even now. To wit:


It’s morning. Temperature is 2 degrees below zero. I have a fire going and feeling safe.


The warmth of a long-ago sun spreads into my room as a log fire dissolves its way to ash giving back the heat and light of many seasons’ growth. Fluid flames dance in a flickering grace of form and orange light. Heat is the result. Light a soft byproduct.


A few feet away is the cold. It is a stinging cold with only a window glass to hold it back. It’s double glass, a bulwark of silica that another temperature and time turned into a transparent glazing of clarity and protection.


I grew up in old houses with single panes of flawed glass. Frost would decorate the panes into a translucent crystal of art, but not now. Modern homes are too tight for nature’s cryogenic beauty to seep in and paint the panes with a cameo of cold. Too bad! How many kids today miss the vision of feathered frost on the inside of a windowpane where they can scratch their design into the thin sheet of ice crystals.


Just beyond my outer pane is an astringent cold that if you stepped outside without protection, it would burn with negative degrees, blister the skin, blink the eyes to tears and tighten the inner nose when a breath is necessary. It’s an arctic tight; the tightness of breath.


The cold on the other side of the glass sets a tension between inside and outside. It cannot penetrate the timid barrier of wood and double panes, but it tries to. It is the knowing fierceness of potential danger and a fire keeps me in the fort of comfort.
Damn, it’s cold!

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