Saturday, December 19, 2009

lux, lucis

There two things about snow, for me: first, I've seen it. Not a lot, but I've seen it. Second, I have no idea at all how to dress properly for it and while I can't go outside more a minute while it's snowing without my whole body shaking, it is pretty. I like the ice, most. It's only raining here but if you go outside it still smells like snow, like something--maybe the ice?--sharp, defined lines, something cold and precise. I like the way, after snow or ice when the sun comes, everything is so clear, crystalline. Same as after hurricanes, except then it's warm and muggy, but clear, nothing left at all but swept-away sky.

I'm hoping for a little snow while we're in St. Louis, but there's a bit of apprehension mingled in there as well, as checking tells me the first day we're there it'll be twenty-eight degrees. The high, that is, meaning it'll probably be below twenty at night and I'm afraid I am a southern, warm-weather creature and when the air isn't thick I feel like I'm moving through things too quickly. And that's on top of being cold, of course.

Funny thing is that we don't use our heat. It's sixty-one in here now, but I've mastered the art of several blankets, sweats and the heater couch. Were I outside in sixty-one degree weather--well, maybe high fifties--and were there the slightest bit of wind I guarantee you I'd be cold. I swear it's a mental thing--in my own house (not at work, mind you) I can deal with extreme-ish temperatures (once more, all this being relative and fairly American, all this in reference to the use of central air and heat). In the coldest part of our admittedly mild winter, if it's thirty-five outside it'll get down to about fifty in the house, maybe a bit below during the night, but that's not till late January, early February. When we were kids it would get colder living in a trailer that wasn't insulated and gas way too expensive, and I remember getting dressed in the morning and being able to see my breath. My point is that, despite complaining, I can deal with the cold inside without a problem, but outside, I'm telling you. Drops below sixty and I'm shivering.

Part of me likes it all, though. I remember spending Christmas Eve my freshman year outside on my god-sister's porch listening to music and writing and my fingertips were so red and cold I could barely move them, but Christmas lights look different when it's that cold. They're pretty from the car, but feel warmer, more Christmas-y when the parts not bundled up are cold. Cold nose, cold fingertips, snow on your cheeks when you look up if you're really lucky.

Mmm, I'm just thinking. It's winter in, what, three days now? Already? Winter feels to me the same way black and white photographs do, that timeless feel about them. I suppose the connection there is a clear enough one. Everything's frozen. And it's like a picture in winter, still and clear and I can feel every little thing, none of the sluggishness of stewing, east coast heat. I'm thinking words with Latin roots to do with light--lucent, luminous, luz, lumin
. Lucid.

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