Thursday, January 28, 2010

by the lake

Outside my office, I listen to the conversation between my colleagues and a visiting scholar from South Africa. The visitor is traumatized by the blast of cold air that we’re experiencing this week.

February will be better, you’ll see – they tell her.

Will it? And is it a good idea to just wait for those better days? Because here, in the upper Midwest, those better days are too rare during the cold seasons.

And in any event, why would we, hearty Midwesterners complain? We, who can afford to pay our heating bills and whose jackets can ostensibly protect against –500 degrees (never to be tested, thank God).

I say to our visitor – you’ll talk about your visit for the rest of your life. We, on the other hand, we have to live with this many months each year.

Thinking of this again at the close of the day, I decide to walk home. An hour and a half should do it.


I haven’t walked this way since I locked away the bike for the season.

The path is empty now. The perfect coldest day of the year. 5 degrees F outside, last I checked.


I make sure the scarf leaves no space for the wind.

Beautiful. Yes, that. Worth remembering on those days when I shoot straight home on the bus.


My legs are so cold that I no longer feel their brush against the fabric of my pants. Not important. I think. Not important.

Still, I pick up the pace.

Did I say this? It really is a beautiful day.