I’ve never canceled a blog due to inclement weather, but as I write this, it is (-2) degrees Fahrenheit mere inches from my head. With the wind chill factored in, up here at the farm, we’re dealing with 20 below zero.
outside temp at the bottom
Now, my li’l farmhouse can do many things. We have a foosball table. We even have DSL and a satellite TV that gets all the Heels games. It was built in 1818 and has rocked for nearly two centuries. But at negative-20 degrees it tells us all to fuck off, and just can’t get warm enough.
Tessa and I sleep in the back, in the part of the farm that used to be the carriage house and two-seater outhouse. It was connected at some point in the 1860s to the main house because its owner, George W. Burton, was sick of going to poop in minus-20 degree weather. But we are still far away from the main heating source, and occasionally, I can see Tessa’s breath while she sleeps (very cute, if’n you ask me).
This is the longest night of the year, the night when Robert Frost contemplated suicide in “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Homeless people all over New York City are staring at death. Tonight brings you the polar extreme of what you’re up against, as a human animal, and it tries to keep you honest.
There is a liminal of ten inches between my bedroom and the violent, bone-breakingly cold howls outside. I come from pioneers that fought their entire lives to stay on the living end of that ten inches, and occasionally I wonder how I might have fared.
Tonight, I walked out into the farmland, seeing how much I could take, while the cruel stars of Orion bled overhead. There is something so horrifying as to be life-affirming when you get that first blast of minus-20 in your face, and if you can stand it a few more seconds, it makes the other things in your life seem more possible.
This is the darkest evening of the year, and the days only get longer and slide into a languid, sexy haze from here on out.