Monday, January 24, 2011
The big chill
It's currently -1 in Boston (wind chill -22) and may drop another degree or two before the sun rises enough to pull us toward 10 or 12 degrees -- the day's forecast high in Boston. Out in Orange, a town on Route 2 that is often the coldest spot in the state, the air temperature is -20 right now.
I remember Christmas Day, 1980, as being the coldest day in Boston in my lifetime. It was -7, and when I walked the short distance from my apartment to my aunt's house, carrying some dish my mother made for dinner later that day, I inhaled and felt the chill in my lungs. A half-dozen years ago I was out in central Massachusetts when the forecast called for extreme cold. It was -13 that morning, and I went outside to feel what that was like.
There is something I find intriguing about the cold, something alluring, spellbinding. Of course, that's only the case when one has somewhere warm to retreat to. Otherwise, the cold can be painful and dangerous pretty quickly. When I was growing up on Chelsea Street in East Boston I remember crowding up against the side of our kitchen stove, the main heat source in our apartment, on cold winter mornings. Do they still make stoves that are also heaters?
Our cold snap won't last long, but there's an icy mix forecast for midweek. The weather always has the power to get our attention.