Friday, February 09, 2007

BRRR.. truly winter

It's cold. It's not been over freezing for about ten days. The last three days we've had wind ... that's bad everywhere when it's cold but it's almost diabolical in New York. We've had beautiful blue skies and bright sun. In sheltered spots -- which sometimes maybe an entire block -- it almost seems nice and comfortable. But then turn a corner -- Ouch! BRRRR... the wind slaps you, finds its way down the back of your neck and up the sleeves of your coat. Worst of all it hits you on the forhead and penetrates to the sinuses behind the cheekbones. Nasty. That HURTS!

Of course it won't last -- this is not Minnesota which must be truly awful. And it's not upstate where I lived some twenty years, in the Syracuse area ... which has had six to eight feet of snow in the last few days. I've seen that happen! it's beatiful if you're not stuck in it. The snow crew getsout efficiently clearing roads and homeowners start up their snow blowers and blast their way to the road, feeling bold and righteous and competent. I've had enough of it and am happy to be here in the so far snowless Big Apple, this winter, But I do like weather. It's a part of the challenge of living in the temperate zone.

I love to watch how people in New York dress themselves for the cold. Over on the East Side it's mostly fur coats and hats. On the middle class, PETA supporting West Side it's down. Many who are natives of much more southerly countries or islands, add layers of stoles and scarves over their coats. Many swathe themesleves in scarves like bandits about to rob a bank. they pull hoods up and only squinting eyes peer out. Then the occasional high school kid, usually talking a mile a minute and at mutli-decibels [often with a pepppering of vulgar words] goes strolling down the street with open coat flying like a sail and an inch of two of belly skin [if it's a girl] exposed to the cold. At a certain age the external world barely exists, everything is personal and usually fraught.

I've been wrapping myself in a knee length poly-filled coat with scarf and hat or earmuffs, gloves too, of course. Inside the coat, I'm warm enough. I have also a short black down filled jacket made in China, an inexpensive purchase a year ago at the end of the season. I find that the feathers tend to sneak out. Sometimes a feather works its way out on the outside, more often it's on the inside so that I might find myself with the random feather stuck on my back or my butt after I take the jacket off. So be it ... the season is short. It won't stay this cold long. But we'll be able to say we actually did have some winter ... it's not "merely" global warming we're surviving this week .. we'll complan abou the global warming part in August when it's too hot to sleep with any kind of clothes on.

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