Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The temps have gone above freezing today for the first time since I arrived. Strangely, other than a brief trip outside to get some material from the truck, I remained inside today. Still, that time outside was without the normal gear, and yet I was still not cold, as I would have been in other climates, such as those in which wind plays a significant role.

Today was a day for rest and some changes. Some were obvious, such as the color in the stairhall, others will not be evident for some time, and still others beyond my right to reveal at this time. The day was one of rest for us as well. Though I am still sore from the raking of the roof yesterday (the roof needs raking every so often in winter to reduce the amount of snow load), it is a good kind of sore. I was out for about 3-4 hours getting down whatever snow I could reach with the "rake" from the ground. This amounted to getting about 15 feet up the roof on average. With a roof holding from 2 to 4 feet of snow in places, this made for a great deal of work, though to tell the truth it never really felt like work. This as with much of what I have done here has been surreal as the experiences are so far out of the scope of my previous experiences. Imagine walking in snow shoes on top of 3 feet of snow, then climbing a snow bank you have just created so that you can get even more of the snow off of the roof. The piles were geting almost high enough to step up onto the roof from the "ground."

All the while the temps feel far warmer than the thermometer says. In fact I am now convinced that there is something fundamentally wrong with the wind chill ratings. When the temps are right at freezing you can stand being outside in short sleeves for some time if there is no wind. But if there is a breeze, even a few moments become torturous. However when I have gone out when the temps were about 0 F, colder than the wind chill today, I've been MUCH more confortable than I would be in similar wind chills. Without wind we build up a layer of warm air around us, that allows us to feel far warmer than the temps say, but with wind we not only do not have that buffer, we have any warmth that our body generates stripped from us, so that we feel even colder yet. It seems that we could take any wind chill and reduce the temp by 20 degrees conservatively and only barely begin to approach the real qualitative effects of the wind.

If it seems that I have been lax in describing my hosts or about specifics about where I am, I do apologize, but this lapse is intentional out of a deep respect for my generous hosts who have welcomed me into their home at least once a year for the last several years. They are very generous, kind, and independent folks who flatter me with the continuing invitations and perhaps the only way I can truly thank them is by respecting their privacy. That said, some of the best meals I have every enjoyed have come from this modest kitchen in which I type this entry now. Some of the most moving discussions have occured just up the stairs from where I sit. I count myself privileged to know my hosts and to have been welcomed into their home. Do not misunderstand any ommission on my part as any slight on them or as any lapse of hospitality on their part.

Tomorrow I will venture into town on my own (maybe) to run some errands, and in part to simply enjoy small town life where it seems far closer to 1935 than to 2000, by which I mean it is friendly, service oriented, and welcoming.

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