Beware the Ides of December!
Is it just me, or has this been a cold winter already? When I rolled out of bed this morning, I checked the local weather. According to the web site, the temperature was “-4, but feels like -8. (That’s “25, but feels like 18″ to those of you who do not speak centigrade.) Very cold. It has been like this for days.
As always during anomalous weather, I’ve checked the National Weather Service for recent data. I made a lovely table of the temperatures for the past week, but for some reason I cannot get it to format properly in the weblog. I’ve posted it here, on a separate page. Go look at it. Isn’t it fun?
The average temperature for the past week is about 34.6. Last year in December, the average monthly temperature was 45.2. (And the average for all Decembers is 42.8.) This past week has been, on average, ten degrees colder than last December. It feels like twenty.Last year, it didn’t drop below 32 once in December. Our low in January was 27. That was also our low during February. (You’ll remember that we had very strange weather for an entire month starting on Valentine’s Day: not a single drop of rain fell.)
I’ve been cautious on my drive to work this week. The roads haven’t been that icy, but slick patches lurk here and there. The real danger comes at midday: I expect the roads to have cleared, and then something surprises me. On Tuesday I drove to Salem in a heavy fog, some of which had frozen to the road. Yesterday afternoon the sky was sunny and clear during my drive to Hillsboro. I was on a winding country road that dipped into a shaded gully to cross a creek. Just as I approached the bridge, I noticed it was icy. “Crap!” I thought as the car slid from my control. Fortunately, the tires found traction in time for me to recover without incident, but I was much more alert for the rest of the afternoon.
Most winters I can handle the cold. In fact, I like it. Most winters I complain that Kris and her friends keep their homes too warm. I call them Ice Queens. This winter, however, despite weighing more than I ever have before, I am cold. Very cold. Cold all the time. I am colder than Kris, and vociferous about my coldness. I’ve been spending a lot of time in my car, delivering Christmas baskets to customers. This would be fine if the damn heater worked. I hate Fords.
The cold weather isn’t all bad. At times it’s rather beautiful. The days are clear and bright; the nights are filled with stars. As I was leaving Mac’s house last Friday afternoon, we marveled at beautiful sunset: thin fingers of clouds glowed red as they stretched toward the horizon.
Mitch called last night. “Dude, go outside and look at the moon,” he said. “It’s awesome. There’s a ring around it, sort of like a halo, and all sorts of clouds. You should take a picture.”
“I’m in the bath,” I said. “I’m trying to warm my inner core.”
I never did see the moon last night, but I saw it this morning. It still had something of a halo about it, and it looked almost spooky through the trees. Because I was carrying my camera, I stopped to take some photos. I was too cold to set up a tripod, though, so I intentionally took shaky handheld shots, hoping for some sort of cool effect. I’m not wholly displeased with the results.