Friday, January 16, 2009
As a kid, I saw all the shows on TV where steam is rolling out from manhole covers and vents. I thought, that's got to just be an effect, I've never seen that.
Having grown up in Texas, and not spent much time in downtown Dallas in winter, of course I hadn't seen such a thing!
Frederick is a pretty old town, for the US, and I walk over 18th century paths to get from my home to my office. I love walking to work and back, even in single digit cold. I gave us both a break tonight, and shopped for supper in the car with an "erkaeltet" cg in tow (that means he has a bad cold and I dragged him out of the house just for the change of pace).
Walking back from my 19th century office building (complete with baroque semi-functional radiators and rattly rope sash windows which let in freezing breezes) over wavy brick paths, watching steam boil from grates on houses and dryer vents, I thought back to those TV shows, my first days in Indianapolis, and my experience down in the Southernmost southwestern state.
I never really had a sense of perspective about where I was. Like early Europeans, and every uneducated people, I assumed that the world orbited around Texas. I was puzzled by Christmas cards with pictures of snow on them. I realized that it must snow somewhere where lots of people lived, to make that the cultural assumption. Meanwhile, I might get to wear jeans on Christmas, or one of my three nice sweaters, if it was below 40F, which was rare.
Little did I know, that Winter really kicks into gear AFTER Solstice. My senses are tuned to the cycles of day and night (I can't listen to atmospheric music with daytime birds at night, it's too disturbing!) and to the seasons.
In Bavaria, we settled in for the "long winter's night" sometime around Thanksgiving, and didn't stir until Easter. Given that so many pagan traditions originated in this area of Europe and further North, the dates on our modern calendars of spring (Oestre) summer (Midsummer's Eve), fall (Halloween/All Hallow's) and winter Solstice (now Christ's Mass in the West) begin to make sense to me. They never did, before. Spring began after March 15, and Fall showed up around Sept 30. Spring meant days in the mid to high 80F, and Fall meant days below 90F. Days above 100F could happen in February. And did.
Lest you think that I assumed that Middle Age peoples thought everything orbited around (yet undiscovered) Texas, I mean to say that every un-evolved being assumes that the world orbits around themselves. We are all subject to a portion of this narcissism, for instance, I assume that people read my blog.
In this new place, every day is something to be puzzled at. I had no idea, it could get this cold, this close to the ocean! Goes to show you what I know about the Eastern Seaboard.
I'm enjoying learning. I've always read about this area, and I'm enjoying being here. Just a little chilly..
At least I own more sweaters, and my down jacket still fits and is wonderful warm.
I'm having big fun with my Mad Bomber hat..