Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cold Amusements

January 24, 2011
[Stayed indoors this morning]
It was to be the coldest night of the year – followed by the coldest day -- one reason I had been glad to get outdoors the day before.
Forecasters were blaring “Wind Chill Warnings” on the hour.  The coming cold temperatures were  a topic of conversation all weekend.
 It’s something that happens every year --  yet if you went by the non-stop “Weather Alerts”  on television and radio,  it was a breaking news event!
(See the Journal  entry below, to realize that this sort of fuss is really nothing new…)
The wooden rafters of our apartment building began to snap loudly at around 10 pm Sunday evening. That only happens when it gets very cold. At odd intervals, you’d hear a startling THUMP above.  I drifted off to sleep, toasty warm on flannel sheets,  wondering just how low the thermometer would go.
Suddenly it was morning – and there was light was shining in my eyes.
That’s odd, I thought, since my window faces west.  Shaking off sleep, I saw that it was the moon – its pale beams were hitting my pillow.

Well there's that heartbeat of the moon the horoscope talked about !
Six a.m., too early for an evening-shift worker to be up and about.  Back under the covers!
The temperature stood at minus 20 degrees. 


HDT’s Journal:  March 19, 1859 -While it is moderately hot or cold, or wet or dry,
nobody attends to it,
but when Nature goes to an extreme in any of these directions
we are all on the alert with excitement.
E. g., when I went to Boston in the early train
the coldest morning of last winter,
two topics mainly occupied the attention of the passengers: Morphy’s chess  victories,
and Nature’s victorious cold that morning

The inhabitants of various towns were comparing notes,
and that one whose door opened upon a greater degree of cold than any of his neighbors’ doors chuckled over not a little.

It was plain that one object which the cold was given us for was our amusement,
a passing excitement.

It would be perfectly consistent and American
to bet on the coldness of our respective towns,
of the morning that is to come.
Thus a greater degree of cold may be said to warm us
more than a less one.


  1. icicles lit by the moon! That's a sight worth waking up to see. Thanks for climbing out from under those covers to go grab your camera.

  2. 'Love the shot of the icicles and the moon!