I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Ice fog and Boxing Day

Snowy and cold Christmas Day

When I woke yesterday, Christmas morning, and looked outside, it was snowing, making everything look clean and new. The temperature was just a few degrees below freezing, so it seemed okay to venture out for a walk. I didn't go far, and the amount of snow on the steps looked to be around five inches or so. Being Christmas Day, nothing was open and everything was quiet. I suppose that inside homes there were presents being opened and lots of merriment going on, but outside, everything was hushed and still.

The temperature then dropped all day long, and now I wake to temperatures in the mid-teens F (-10°C) and expect that, as the day progresses, the temperature will continue to drop also. We are in the midst of a deep freeze that is cold enough to scare anybody who is paying attention. What is happening to all the homeless people and the wild animals? Considering how cold I feel inside my warm apartment, I shudder to think about what they are experiencing.

John is not coming to take me to coffee and breakfast, our usual Sunday morning activity, and there is no way I should even venture out in this weather. At least there are now stores and shops available, and the buses should be running, so I might find a way to get out in the middle of the day and maybe go downtown to see what's happening in the deep freeze. We rarely get this cold in the Pacific Northwest, and I do so hope that nobody loses power (especially us!) and that we can get through this without too much suffering. According to the forecast, we won't get above freezing for the remainder of the year.

Today is Boxing Day. I never heard of this before I moved to this part of the world, thinking that perhaps it meant boxing up all the presents you gave or received on Christmas. Apparently the meaning of the term is not fixed, and lots of countries use the term to mean different things. From Wikipedia:

Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated after Christmas Day, occurring on the second or third day of Christmastide. Though it originated as a holiday to give gifts to the poor, today Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday. It originated in the United Kingdom and is celebrated in a number of countries that previously formed part of the British Empire.

 When I went out for a short walk yesterday, and took a few pictures of our white Christmas, I realized that the cold means roads and sidewalks will be slippery and difficult to navigate for several days to come. Fortunately I have spikes to strap onto my boots, which will make it easier for me to stay upright. When I was younger, I enjoyed these challenges much more than I do today. Now it's just survival tactics. 

Have you heard of ice fog? That's another new one for me. I saw it in the weather forecast and wondered what it means. So of course I looked it up, and found this:

Ice fog is a type of fog consisting of fine ice crystals suspended in the air. It occurs only in cold areas of the world, as water droplets suspended in the air can remain liquid down to −40 °C (−40 °F). Ice fog is not the same thing as freezing fog, which is commonly called pogonip in the western United States.

 So, as you can see, I have learned two new terms that are not usually used in my neck of the woods. When you are in the midst of a weather phenomenon at Christmas, these two terms emerge for word people like me to add to our lexicon. That's enough for me at present. However, I don't want to spend the entire post on weather!

As I slept last night snuggled up under my down comforter, with my dear partner sleeping quietly by my side, my dreams were filled with recollections of old friends I haven't seen in decades. They were so real and present, it made me realize how many dear friends I've forgotten over the years. But they are obviously not gone, because we got together last night in my dreams, and I woke feeling like we had just been together. And their laughter still echoes through my morning reverie. 

One thing about dreams that I love is how much they bring past moments into my present reality. Sometimes I dream more often than usual, and lately I notice that I wake up and find myself in another reality altogether. It makes me think about that story of the man who dreamed he was a butterfly:

Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. 

 Our reality doesn't seem all that solid to me at the moment. Although I can hear the wind blowing in sub-freezing conditions, I am safe and warm, just a short distance away. And yes, I might have to see if I can get outdoors on Boxing Day and experience it firsthand. Or maybe I am just dreaming it all anyway. 

My day has begun. A different Sunday than I usually experience, but then again, the day has just started. I won't be doing my exercises on the front porch as usual, but instead in the living room in front of our heater. Once I finish with this post, I will finally have a chance to warm up my cold hands. Although it's moderately warm in here, my hands must be outside the covers in order to type, and I keep having to sit on them while I ponder my next words.

Well, it's time to bring this to a close, and to wish all my dear virtual friends a happy Boxing Day and week to come. I do truly hope that you will be well and will find yourself surrounded with happiness and contentment. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things.


Marie Smith said...

We have had those temperatures with high winds recently, making it feel like -25 C. Brrr….stay warm, Jan.

We walked the last two days when the wind died down. It was beautiful, with the animals out and about on the trail as they usually are. Occasions don’t mean much to them. We enjoyed their company however.

Boud said...

We seem to have exchanged weather. Here milder than usual, rainy, in the 50s f. I'm out walking today, need a blow of fresh air.

Happy new year!

Barbara Rogers said...

And another weird weather report...it was 68 degrees F here in Asheville NC yesterday, and will be just about as warm today. Be safe and warm!

Arkansas Patti said...

What bizarre weather. You had snow and freezing temps and we got up to 80 yesterday. I think our homeless and animals were happy about that.
With all the warm weather though, my dandelions are actually blossoming.
Each day anymore seems to be a first.
Hope you get a bit of our warmth and I wouldn't mind a bit of your snow.
Just stay safe.

Elephant's Child said...

As usual it is warm here. Too warm for my wimpy self. I try and only go outside in the very early morning. Here in Australia Boxing Day is celebrated by many in the stores chasing down bargains. Not for me.
Enjoy the rest of your day (and I am pleased to read that you are taking care on the icy paths).

John's Island said...

A wonderful post and I can relate to everything you said, being just a few miles south of you down here in Seattle. The snow started here early this morning and now, about 11:45am, I would say maybe 3 inches or so ... hard to tell as there is so much wind creating drifts all over the place. I don't think I will get outside today, but we'll have to see. I snapped some photos of my hummers on the feeder this morning. I moved it down to a table on the deck where it is somewhat out of the wind and also installed the little hummer feeder. Photos on my blog. Hope you and SG have a great day and stay warm! John PS 23F just before noon.

Rita said...

We had snow all day Christmas Day and are expecting another round of it to come rolling in later this afternoon (boxing day). It looks just beautiful and sparkly out there! 17 degrees and I am glad to be staying inside. Happy new year--it is right around the corner. :)

William Kendall said...

Here we had ice pellets yesterday. I stayed indoors.

Gigi said...

70 degrees here in NC - very confusing! Happy Holidays, DJan. Stay safe in that weather!

Rian said...

80 degrees here in Texas... too warm to use the fireplace (which is something I miss at Christmas). But I expect we'll get our share of cold soon enough. Do be careful walking outside with the snow or ice, DJan!

Linda Reeder said...

what I didn't plan on being a busy day somehow got filled up. I'm catching a few minutes on line before I have to go and finish up my turkey soup. We spelt in after I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. We only had slush Christmas day but woke up this morning to snow which, when it finally stopped accumulating, added up to about four inches. WE put on our boots and coats and walked the four blocks to the Safeway to buy noodles for my soup.
Back home, I made myself do my PT before putting a few things Safeway and getting some left overs for lunch with the Seahawks.
I also went through the bags of gifts I got yesterday, re-appreciated them and then began putting things away. Most of the boxes stayed at Jill's house, so there were very few boxes for Boxing Day, but the way we all use Amazon, I imagine there are piles of them ready to go to recycling all over the country and the world.
It's 22 degrees here and dropping now that's dark. We are safe and warm and have all we need for now. I hope you are too.

Anvilcloud said...

Boxing Day is a sat at holiday here. Unlike Christmas, however, grocery stores and pharmacies etc may open but often at reduced hours. So, our Boxing Day sales occur on the day after Boxing Day. We once went to downtown Toronto on Boxing Day. Never again. Shauna was young at the time, and we held on very tight in the crowds.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Turn up the heat it is not good to be that cold! You had a White Christmas!! Enjoy! We are getting a huge dump of snow tonight and tomorrow:(

Red said...

Your weather is certainly far from the ordinary. My son lives just east of Vancouver and sent photos of lots of snow with more to come and a minus 23 C

Betsy said...

How crazy the weather is everywhere. Of course it was not always snowing on Christmas for the almost 30 years we lived in Spokane, but now that we're back in Nebrska, I actually wore a sleeveless dress and flip-flops on Christmas day! Unbelievable. It is supposed to be below zero by the middle of the week but I guess it's our turn!
Last week we had tornado warnings and almost 80 degrees. This week sub-zero temps. It is truly crazy.

gigi-hawaii said...

Ice fog??? Never heard of it until now. Well, if that is true, then I would not venture out at all. Stay safe and stay warm!

Linda Myers said...

I always wish I could fly to Washington the day ahead of a big snowstorm, and stay there until the event is over and people are back to their regular schedules, then fly home. So far I haven't done that, but you never know.

Glenda Beall said...

Here I am leaving my comment on New Year's Day. It will be 70 degrees here in Roswell GA today. It has rained for the past two days and will continue I think.
New Year's Eve was terrible for our pups. Fireworks began early in the evening and continued until after midnight. Lexie stayed as close to me as she could and poor Smokie, my sister's little dog trembles and gets so frightened she has to be medicated.
I envy you all that snow for Christmas. I have only seen one white Christmas in my life. Be careful going out in the ice and slippery world.

John's Island said...

Happy New Year DJan! Looking forward to tomorrow's first Eye on the Edge 2022! John