Sunday, January 24, 2010

Worth the Wait


Around lunchtime, on Monday, the long-anticipated buzz began...

"The sun is here!"

"Can you see the sun?"

"You should see the sun!"

Emails sizzled, hot and fast, across the network.

On-the-ball observers spread the word door-to-door.

Faculty, staff, and students scurried toward south-facing windows, fingers and noses pressed against the glass.

All this...just to catch a fleeting glimpse, to witness that first blazing moment when the earth tilts its head and the sun shimmers a hundred shades of pink and red and yellow and orange upon a canvas of frozen white.


Maybe the angle of rays through miles of atmosphere magnifies the glory.

Or maybe weeks upon weeks of darkness simply exaggerates the effect.

Regardless of the reason, our moment in the sun is dramatic and invigorating.


And the majesty of that moment is...worth the wait.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Magic Number


It seems ironic that our coldest time of year is when the sun is on the rise. At the risk of sounding like an old fisherman telling a tale, I still have to say that this isn't as cold as it's been in years past.

These are tonight's stats with a 9 mph wind:
Temperature -43 F (-42 C)
Windchill -68 F (-56 C)

I remember school being dismissed a few years ago because, not only was the ambient temperature around -60, the windchill was -84. And I'm sure lifelong residents would have no trouble topping that.

But, forty below seems to be the magic number that brings all things mechanical to a screeching halt. The school bus is relegated to the bus barn because metal parts tend to snap. Bush planes aren't supposed to be in the air at -40 or colder and I can't say I'd want to be on one that was.

Moisture from furnaces crystallizes and hangs in the air like a veil.

Without the buzz of four-wheelers and snow machines, the village might settle into an eerie sort of silence.


In temperatures like these, fabrics containing polyester stiffen and make crinkling sounds when the wearer moves. A group of children in store-bought coats sound like a bunch of potato chip bags being crumpled together.

Nothing silent about that.

Even the snow is treading on Styrofoam, it squeaks and creaks with every step.

I just let Rudy out for the last time tonight. When he came back inside five minutes later, his teeth were actually chattering! I had to laugh. It just isn't often that one hears the sound of chattering teeth emanating from a dog.

-43F...-68F windchill

It seems that Peace and Quiet, those long-standing friends, spend most of the year together. But when the mercury drops to forty below, Quiet looks for some warmer weather.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Midnight Madness


The night began quiet enough with a full moon gleaming down on rooftops covered in sleepy, silent snow. A coziness seemed to blanket the village on this eve of our fresh new year.

At least, that's how it looked from my window.

But 'round about midnight, the madness began. How else might one explain the willing pilgrimage of young and young-at-heart toward the southern end of town despite a frigid windchill of -41 F?

Madness! There's no other word for it!


Well, except maybe..."ooooh."


And, "aaaaah!"


Whether by hoof or Honda or half-ton pick-up...all moved toward the mesmerizing light.


Was it worth the cold fingers, chapped cheeks, and runny nose?



It's madness, I tell you! Madness!

And...a big "thank you" goes out to the two brothers who generously orchestrate this grand fireworks display each year. What a gift to our community!

Happy New Year to all of you on the Buggy Side...and beyond!