Cold and raw the north wind doth blow
Bleak in the morning early,
All the hills are covered with snow,
And winter’s now come fairly.
For the past three years I have dreaded the coming of winter. I do not mind the snow so much – I was raised in Upstate NY and went to college just south of the border – but after spending a year in Georgia for my wife’s residency, I am terrified of the bitter, unsympathetic, arduous tortures of the north lands. Every year there comes a tipping point when I just give in and admit winter is here.
There is no denying, winter is here now. Last night’s run found me outside at 8:30 wearing a pair of wool socks, three pairs of gloves, two pairs of pants, and five shirts. The thermometer read minus eight degrees, Fahrenheit. I did not bother to look at the wind chill factor for fear of the realization that this was an utterly stupid run.
Eventually, I warmed up, with the exception of my ears and face. The corners of my eyelids grew icicles and when I spit I could feel the spider web like tendrils of frozen saliva dancing on my cheeks.
Despite the freezing cold and discomfort, the stars are certainly (or at least they seem so) brighter on crisp winter nights. The awe of the heavens never really wears off, but it definitely gets overlooked when it is a constant. last night, though, I witnessed something I have never seen before.
Shooting stars – at least that I have noticed – always seem to shoot across the sky, or towards the horizon giving them the appearance that they are falling. Last night I saw my first shooting star take off from the horizon and shoot into the sky like a sparkler being tossed into warm Fourth of July night. It was not a jaw dropping, stop in your tracks sort of moment, but a feeling of humility crept in as I learned that something I believed for thirty years based on experience, was simply wrong.