In which our Heroine meets Jack Frost.
I just got back from the walk of death. 30 minutes of walking time a day, my physical therapist said. Well, unless I miraculously end up with a new treadmill in the next 24 hours, I can tell you now that this cannot continue. Truth be told, I have been failing at the daily walk for a few weeks now. There is a good reason for this. It’s called a cold snap.
2 pm yesterday was the high temperature of 15 degrees for the whole day. I bundled up my hapless child and took her out into the killing cold. The way she was bundled into her mostly enclosed jogging stroller, though, I’m sure she felt much warmer than her mama. The memory of that 25 minute walk was enough to keep me from trying again today, but the mailbox was calling me and I thought, “Why not?”
I’ll tell you why. Because, baby its cold outside. Jack Frost was not romantically “nipping” at my nose. He had a miniature, but very sharp ice pick and was slowly chipping away at my beleaguered pores. Before I’d gotten close to the mailbox (though by circuitous route), Jack had created a pattern of lacy ice across the tops of my cheekbones, now a showing a prominent red, (but not of roses, apples, or cherries, which only flourish in summer or fall weather). My eyeballs began to sting, even behind my thickly shielding glasses. Home was starting to seem like a real haven, but before I’d reached it I had the epiphany of why Silver Bells is such an appropriate song for Christmas. I’m sure they have nothing to do with jolly sleigh bells and warm horse breath. It’s because they make such a crystalline sound on clear nights—the aural equivalent of the tactile freeze of air in the lungs and ice from your frozen breath lacing across your exposed skin.
I know, I know. Those of you from warmer climates are saying, “Duh Tara, you live in Alaska.” Even for Anchorage, this is cold weather. Its not even January yet for pity’s sake! Those of you from cold climates are saying, “Wear your winter gear, stupid.” Yeah, I was. Have I mentioned yet how in the winter I tend to think endlessly of the warm desert? It is possible that these warm and unbidden thoughts are the most awful part of winter for me. Forget the sun going down at 3 pm. It’s the contrast of warmer times that kills me.