There is nothing finer or more exhilarating than a Mid-Western cold spell. It has been a long time since we experienced temperatures like the ones we have today. Last night when I took the trash out, my indoor-outdoor thermometer read -3 F. This morning, the darn thing didn’t register. I bundled up to blow the snow off the drive and walkways. Just before leaving the house, I checked the temperature on my phone. It read minus seventeen fahrenheit, with a south wind. I believe the cold is coming to us from the South Pole where it is summer and research ships traveling there to prove man-made global warming have frozen into the water.
Outside, the cold manifested itself in quiet. Normally, I can hear the noise of traffic from the nearby roads, but not today. The day before the birds crowded the feeders in a feeding frenzy. Today there is no movement, no sound, nothing except cold, sparkling pure crystals of powder snow. The sky is a pure blue and any pollution over the city has frozen and fallen from the sky.
My mind took me back to a time when I served as Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 1776. I formed the troop two years before the USA ‘s two hundredth birthday. People called us the bi-centennial troop. Many of the scouts still communicate with me. One of the memories was a District event held in January called the Klondike Derby at Yorkville Scout camp west of Chicago. A weekend campout filled with sled races, pioneering skills and cold weather survival training. We braved the cold and survived a night sleeping on the ground in tents when the temperature dropped to twenty-five below zero. The best part was Sunday morning when it was time to break camp and head for home. Not a single car started, we were stranded. Thankfully, the Camp Ranger had a phone in his cabin and we were able to call home for Dads to come out and pick up their sons as the Scoutmasters tried starting the vehicles. We survived that adventure also, and finally arrived home by six. It was another time when I enjoyed the pure exhilaration of the extreme cold.
It took me thirty minutes to move the snow, and by that time my gloved hands were tingling but my fingers were beginning to numb at the same time. I filled the feeders and came in to hibernate. I think it is a good time to cook some chili.