It’s been brutally cold today and yesterday, with windchill temperatures in the teens and single-digits. Reggie doesn’t seem to mind the cold as long as the pavement beneath his paws isn’t too icy, so we walk even in frigid temperatures, with Reggie tugging at his leash and me wrapped in layers of down and fleece.
I’m always amazed to see wild things active and apparently undeterred by severe winter weather, as if cold doesn’t penetrate fur and feathers. Yesterday, the squirrels seemed oblivious to the cold, and this morning, a half dozen Cedar waxwings were foraging in a cluster of fruit-laden crab-apple trees, consuming fuel for their inner fires.
On cold days, it still feels good to walk, at least once you burn off your initial inertia. If you dress well, you almost don’t mind the chill, knowing full well you have a warm apartment and hot beverages to return to. Fingers inside gloves warm quickly if you swing your arms, and a long down coat will keep even your legs warm if you walk briskly. The only thing that really hurts on a frigid morning dog-walk is your face, but even that isn’t insurmountable: I wear a scarf on extremely cold days, and I haven’t lost my nose, cheeks, or watering eyes to frostbite yet.
Throughout the day today as I’ve sat grading papers at my kitchen table, I’ve repeated a silent prayer of gratitude each time I’ve heard the furnace start up in the basement below me: the sound of my apartment fueling its own inner fire.