January 23, 2014


The snow gets sparkly in subzero weather, like sugar tossed on the crust of a homemade apple pie. It’s been so cold this week that my cats have refused to venture outside, despite their fur coats, preferring instead to hiss at each other in the warm house. The snow squeaked under my feet as I walked across the yard, a sound heard only on the coldest of winter days.

My classroom is drafty: students keep their scarves wrapped around them even as they shed their bulky winter coats and thick mittens. As I walked across campus, I noticed something odd: I didn’t see a single student texting. No one wanted to expose their fingers in these temperatures.

When I stopped to see my parents yesterday, they were sitting near the fire. My mother asked as soon as I walked in the door, “Why aren’t you wearing a hat?" We ate homemade muffins and drank hot tea at the kitchen table, then moved naturally back to the fire as we talked.

Tonight temperatures have above zero, but just barely. As I scanned facebook and twitter, I noticed that most of my students are talking about a blackout. Whole neighhborhoods in the university area are without power. The students keep posting photos of candles and camping lanterns, and they seem cheerful about ditching their homework to cuddle under blankets, but I hope their furnaces start working before their pipes freeze.

In the meantime, we’re warm here in our living room. My husband is in the comfy chair with his laptop. With-a-Why is playing the piano. His girlfriend Shy Smile is doing homework on her laptop. I’m just about to feed the swarm of cats who are gathered in the kitchen, demanding more food than usual on these winter nights.


Cindy said...

It's been cold here too! Glad you're keeping warm.

Jeff said...

Love the lines:
"I noticed something odd: I didn’t see a single student texting. No one wanted to expose their fingers in these temperatures."

I went to college at SUNY Oswego. The lake effect wind was bone chilling! Living down south for 25+ years has thinned out my blood. :)

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

My family used to call it "hunkering in." I never quite understood why my parents loved weather that called for blankets and fires. I get it now, as my kids play with characters in front of the fire, the dogs gnaws on a bone and the cat visits us before launching herself into her perch by the fire. There is a quiet that comes with these frigid temps, an inexplicable thickness to the air that invites togetherness.