: something wicked this way comes :

I know it. You know it. The entire northern hemisphere knows it. So why am I the only one panicking and doomsday prepping like a crazy person? Because I’m keenly attuned to seasonal nuance, that’s why. I can feel the menacing approach of winter from here, early September, when shorts and flip-flops are still a thing.

Oh, dear, did you think the wicked I’m fearing is melting ice caps, the rising tide of fascism, monkeypox, or any of the myriad threats stalking us? Sorry, no, I’m not that sensible. The wicked I fear is the agonizing misery of brutal cold. I know, that sounds cracked, but do you know what cold does to the human body? It kills you. Dead.

But, first, your muscles shiver, your teeth chatter, the hairs on your body rise, and your flesh erupts in goosebumps. That’s because the hypothalamus, a gland in our brains that acts as the body’s thermostat, is trying to keep our cores warm at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing our extremities — fingers and toes, ears, legs. In World War II, for instance, truck and tank engines froze solid, guns wouldn’t fire, and thousands of soldiers had their eyelids frozen off or froze to death themselves in the murderous cold along the Eastern front.

Humans just aren’t designed to withstand extreme cold. Polar animals are. They have thick, dense winter coats of fur or they’re encased in fat, sometimes inches thick. Humans have naked skin and relatively little fat. Me, one such human, defines extreme cold as any temperature below 75º. I wish I was joking. I’m not. That’s why I’m panicking and doomsday prepping, which, by the way, amounts to little more than marathon shopping for plentiful layers of comically heavy clothing, plus books to keep me entertained and distracted.

Guess what I discovered, though, by way of gobsmacking epiphany. There’s a teensy weensy, but very real, upside to winter.

It is quiet. 

Spring, summer, and early autumn are a raucous, well-deserved celebration of nature’s cease-fire. By late-August, though, we’re exhausted and in energy saving mode. Soon, the ritual will begin. We’ll drag in the lawn chairs, windows will close, sidewalks empty, leaves fall, and snow will come pelting out of the sky. A hush will blanket the world, occasionally punctured by the rumble of snowplows or an icicle creaking or teeth chattering or …

S’cuse me, I have to lie down. 

copyright © 2022 the whirly girl

2 responses to “: something wicked this way comes :”

  1. I come very well insulated. One might say overly insulated. The summer months are killers for me. You can always put layers on but there is a limit to what you can take off. People know my situation. They text me before arriving. “Put pants on, we’re on our way”. I live with two old skinny people that are never warm and they are quicker than me at the thermostat. I’m not a fan of winter but I do enjoy cooler temps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How I envy you. Here, the down comforter never comes off the bed. Winter woolies never go into summer storage. I wear turtlenecks all summer long. There simply aren’t enough layers to keep me warm in winter and I wear upwards of five beneath a heavy, voluminous coat. And that’s why I hate winter — I’m not only cold, I’m buried alive in wool. Plus, by January, I’m claustrophobic with the ever-shrinking bare pavement and a peephole for a windshield. Just taking the dog out is 30 minutes of preparation, then 10 minutes of torture, followed by 20 minutes of disassembly. I never complain about the heat in summer, but I never shut up about the cold. Never.

      Liked by 1 person

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