Monday, January 06, 2014

mustn't get soft...

I wake up before dawn. There is a certain amount of curiosity that one has about rare weather events. Polar vortex! What's it like outside? How brutal is it to stand facing the wind today? I check the temperature. Just shy of -20F. There was a light mist at night (I can tell by the beads of crystal on the glass roof), but now the skies are almost clear. What would a sunrise be like during a Polar vortex?

I haven't chased a sunrise for a long time. And perhaps you'll think it's foolish (crazy?) to go out now, in -20, to start the ancient Ford Escort, to hear her creak in ways I've never heard before, to keep driving even though the door can never quite catch the hinge, driving in that frozen Arctic air toward the (frozen) lake.

Trucks have hauled fishing huts out on the lake for the season. This morning though, it is quiet. Really quiet.


I came too early. The sun has a few steps to go before it reaches the horizon. Some days when I've come here in the past, I would admire the predawn colors and turn around before the sun first showed a flash of brilliant light above the water. But today I wait. Even as the car refuses to recognize heat. 


And when I step out to take photos, my gloveless hand freezes instantly. They say three seconds and it's frostbite. Well now, you can't snap a photo in a wooly mit!


It's a beautiful sunrise. No, there wouldn't be a reflection in the water. But it is such a thrilling thing to see the radiant sun come out on a day that is the antithesis of warmth and I truly want to stand there and do sun salutations. But I think better of it. Someone may think I've become unhinged in the cold. (Though who? Who drives now in the wee hours of a day when schools remain closed and many people stay home from work?)

As always, heading away from a sunrise still gives you thrilling peeks at its effect.



All the way to the farmhouse door.


Even though I had my warmest coat and my warmest hat on, my body is icy cold. At home, Ed cringes as I reach for his hand to take on some of his warmth. It's a good hour before I feel un-cold again.

Breakfast? In the sun room of course! Hooray for the sun! Inside, it turns the day from a desperately cold one to a brilliantly cold one!

farmhouse breakfast-1.jpg

farmhouse breakfast-2.jpg

My sun salutations are at home. Who would go out on a day like this?

As it turns out, I do -- a second and a third time! A dentist check at noon -- I can't miss that. I have insurance that runs out when I officially retire this month. Fix everything! -- I tell him. Sorry, he responds. For once there's nothing to fix.

The second visit is to my daughter's to look in on Goldie the cat. The weather caused a tiny delay for them and they are struggling to get home. In the meantime, Goldie relishes the attention. For a while. And then, satisfied that she is not alone, she retreats to her favorite spot in the sun.


I have my laptop and I use the time there to run through my workout/yoga/dance program. Goldie does her stretches too.


Back at the farmhouse, we've done nothing with the septic system so far. It's on a temporary partial fix. When the days get slightly warmer, say by fifty degrees or so (by the weekend!), we'll have someone out to do a consultation. In the meantime, we have water, we have heat, and we have a pot of chili on the stove.

The winds are picking up tomorrow. Looking at the weather maps, it seems that we are nearly at the epicenter of the Polar Vortex. One more day and it will push its way north again. The irony is that just as it leaves Wisconsin, I'm scheduled to fly south, for a very quick trip to Florida. On the upside -- the planes should be flying by then again.

There is always an upside.