I can’t believe how cold it is today. The little weather icon in my menubar says it’s -12 degrees Centigrade, but feels like -19. I know that it’s been colder this winter, but today seems especially bad because of the almost spring like rain yesterday. I guess March is not sure what season it is either.
What makes this weather so terribly uncomfortable is the biting wind that comes with it. It cuts through to your bones regardless of how many layers you may have on and leaves you feeling stiff and numb, as if there’s a thin layer of frost forming all over you. Of course, you can pretty much forget about actually being able to feel anything in the unlucky parts of you that are exposed.
On my way to the subway this morning, I couldn’t feel my face at all. But what I could feel was a nagging fear in the back of my mind as I walked that last block that I might be drooling or have a running nose and not realise it. Thankfully, no such thing happened. I reached the station and boarded the train with a clear, though somewhat red, face.
I suppose that I could purchase one of those ski masks if I really wanted keep warm. Or even a toque. But I haven’t worn a hat for years, so why start now? I don’t even cover my ears regularly, though I do keep my eargrips on my arm most of the time. Actually, I suppose I should correct that last statement. I wasn’t in the habit of covering my ears when I went out until a few weeks ago when they – my ears, that is – had a rather nasty run in with some frostbite.
I’m not going to relate how and why my ears ended up so cold, so don’t ask. And really, those details are not very important to this story.
Like most people who’ve lived through a few winters up here, I’ve had the occasional bit of frostnip. It’s never really that bad and usually leaves your ears (or nose, or fingers) numb and then a little warm and tingly when you come in out of the cold. Frostbite, I can now say from experience, is nothing like it. The dull pain that you experience while you’re in the cold is bad. The thawing out process is far, far worse.
I can honestly say, hopefully without sounding like I’m bragging, that I have a pretty high pain threshold. But this went far beyond anything I’ve ever felt before – it actually brought a few tears to my eyes. Thankfully, the intense burning sensation calmed to a dull throbbing after about an hour and a half. And all the while, of course, I was remembering all the countless stories I’ve heard of people having to have their frostbitten toes amputated and hoping I wasn’t going to become a statistic.
I know that by now, all of you must be wondering how this story ends. Does our hero survive intact, or is he left a battered wreck, bereft of his ears.
Why are you snickering? This is serious.
Well, I think it’s safe to say that all of you have seen me since this happened, so you know that I still have my ears. But I thought I’d put your anxiety to rest just in case you weren’t sure.
Eventually, I was able to sleep that night, though I had to make sure that I didn’t rest my ears against the pillow, and my ears hurt for a couple of weeks afterward. And even now, if it’s a little too cold, they start hurting almost immediately. But, I do still have them, so it’s good.
And that’s why I cover my them now. Well, most of the time, anyway. Some of us will never learn, I guess.
I’m sorely (Ha! No pun intended.) tempted to add “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” here, but I will valiantly resist the urge. Here’s something by Joshua Radin instead. He’s been featured of late on the Garden State soundtrack and in a few episodes of Scrubs. He makes lovely, acoustic music.
You can listen to this song and a couple of others on his website. “Closer” and “Today” are also very nice. But “Winter” seems more appropriate, I guess.
From the album, First Between 3rd and 4th
I should know who I am by now
I walk the record stand somehow
Thinking of winter
Your name is the splinter inside me
While I wait
And I remember the sound
Of your November downtown
And I remember the truth
A warm December with you
But I don’t have to make this mistake
And I don’t have to stay this way
If only I would wake
The walk has all been cleared by now
Your voice is all I hear somehow
Calling out, “winter”
Your voice is the splinter inside me
while I wait
I could have lost myself
In rough blue waters in your eyes
And I miss you still
If only I could write an essay as easily as I throw these posts out…