Friday, January 16, 2009
A cold morning here along the river. Cold of a sort that an uncle used to call "low-down cold." But the river was still open and moving. There was snow on the banks, ice in the current, shelf-ice extending out from the edges. Tendrils of fog hung above the surface. Water sliding through the riffle near the cottage looked sluggish and a pale green, reminding me of a frozen daiquiri I once had in the Floridita Bar, in Havana, when I took time out from a bonefishing junket to look up one of Hemingway’s old watering holes. However, the weather in Cuba that day had been decidedly warmer. Here, the thermometer stood at –13 degrees when I went outside to check the seed and suet feeders and scatter a big scoop of cracked corn on the ground for those who prefer to take their breakfast on the low side of the table. The official low hereabouts, according to the NWS and the airport a few miles away, which occurred about an hour before my dawn foray, was –14. Cold, though without wind—at least here, where we’re tucked below a couple of low hills (in truth, hardly high enough to be called hills, but I can’t think of a better term) and protected. Wind would have made it feel far worse. I’m always amazed how temperatures of zero and something in the minus range feels so noticeably different. This is true even if the spread is only a few degrees. A single inhaled breath tells you whether or not you’ve passed the line; so does an exposed patch of cheek, or the way snow squeaks underfoot. No doubt folks who live in Minnesota know a thing or two about real cold that we Buckeye’s can’t imagine. Deep, north-country cold is an entirely different environment than what we experience during an Ohio winter. At best, we receive only a taste; their winter cold is serious, another country entirely. For me, today, -13 is sufficient.