“Yes, cold… and hard.”

Posted on January 21, 2012


I did the coldest interview of my life yesterday. Of course The Land Conservancy chose the coldest day ever to begin saving this 400-year-old tree. And of course the tree had to be outside. I parked my car and shambled out into Harvard’s frozen tundra. Within 10 minutes I could barely feel my face. I was wearing my brother’s fleece cap he got from Hammacher Schlemmer that has this flap that folds out from the bottom so you can cover your nose, ears and mouth. I usually refrain from deploying this modern marvel of high-end gadget-store technology because it makes my face eerily ninja-like. I thought it might be slightly unprofessional to interview someone whilst looking like I trained with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but after my nose and the majority of my face started tingling, I thought it might be prudent to wax-on.

I started scribbling some notes on my legal pad but, within a sentence, my pen was frozen, and I had to make due with pressing hard enough into the paper so I could trace my indentations later. Like a fool I tried writing without a glove; that tingly sensation soon found my hand. Even with both gloves on, I lasted only about 15 minutes longer before deciding I would take some pictures and call people from the warmth of the office later in the day.

Like pain, I don’t think we can adequately recall the feeling of extreme frigidity without actually experiencing it. We can shout, “Jesus Christ it’s cold!” but our synapses or whatever can’t recreate that feeling without being frozen solid. So, in a way, I think each time we curse the Arctic winds is the coldest we’ve ever been.

Why do I mention this in my travel blog? Because I wouldn’t care if I never felt that again. I hate the cold. And, in going on my trip, I’m excited to experience some climates where that extreme cold doesn’t exist and see what other strengths they have beside the climate. To those who say they like living in the Midwest so they can experience the seasons — you can have them. I gladly will trade you having your beard freeze as you breathe on it for the ability to go down to the beach with a book every day after work. Enjoy!

Posted in: Woodstock