“Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult.
You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it.”
On facebook this morning I mentioned that it was -8 in Lexington and my pipes didn’t freeze. I also said that I did not leave the water dripping overnight. Boy, did I hear about that; virtual finger wagging at its finest. I chuckled. Not because I thought the commentators were silly, but because -8 is not that bad to me (though it may be for my pipes, admittedly).
Many people don’t know that I lived in Barrow, Alaska in my early 20’s. The day I stepped off the plane it was -50. That was the actual temperature, not the wind chill. You don’t know cold until that hits you in the face. The following day, I was outside less than five minutes and contracted frostbite on my toes. How do humans survive such extremes? It’s amazing how your body will adjust. The blood actually thickens. Skin becomes like leather, blood pooling into bizarre venous bruises for protection. One interesting thing about extreme cold is that your body recognizes little difference between zero and -20. The same is true for -30 to -50, and so on. By the same token, if you didn’t know the temperature between zero and +20, you likely wouldn’t feel the difference. You’re cold, that’s really all you’d know. The figure itself is an intellectual convention, but the body operates by its own thermometer. By the time I left Alaska I was comfortable outside when it was zero wearing only a T-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. Indoors, I was breaking into a sweat. That’s not an exaggeration. None of this has much to do with freezing pipes, except that it reminded me how much I’ve experienced in this life; how fun, and sometimes harrowing, it has been, and why I rarely panic. I’ll sleep tight tonight. I might even remember to drip the faucets. Most of all, I’ll be thankful once more to have warm shelter, an adorable dog, and a good life.