Br-r-r! It’s cold!

The wind was from the north today. Arctic air has been pushing across Canada and into the United States, its effects being felt as far south as Miami, Florida:

The National Weather Service says cold air is continuing to cascade down from Canada, causing bitter cold and freezing conditions from the plains states to the Northeast and even into the Southern states. Some of the coldest wind chill readings will dip as low as between 25 and 45 degrees below zero.” CBS News

The most extreme arctic blasts, blamed on a weather pattern known as the polar vortex, were said to have affected nearly 190 million people.

In Kentucky, an escaped prisoner turned himself in to get out of the cold.

Some parts of the Midwest hit -26C (-14F), as low as the Antarctic coast in winter, and much colder than the inside of a domestic freezer.

Temperature records were shattered in states across the US, including Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Michigan, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

It was -17C (1F) in the small town of Hell, Michigan, prompting online jokes that the weather was so bad even hell had frozen over.”  BBC

As is so often the case with dry, cold air there has also been endless sunshine and that is something I find impossible to ignore.  Yesterday I went for a hurried bicycle ride on the beach, calculated to have the 18mph wind at my back.  It was however a small concession as I wasn’t wearing either a hat or gloves and my fingers became so frozen that I imagined they might break off.  When I repeated the exercise again today I donned not only hat and gloves but also a heavy cable-knit sweater under my cotton shell. On both days, after securing my bicycle at the front of the house, I sallied over to the pool which is sheltered by the surrounding sea pines.  The sun has a perfect avenue directly upon the northeast corner of the pool and this is where I flatten myself on the chaise longue to absorb the rays.  Surprisingly there is considerable warmth from the protected sunshine though occasionally a gust of wind makes its way through the trees causing me to shudder momentarily.  When however the cool air spills onto my uplifted face it is quite refreshing.

It is a commonly known trick to place a swaddled baby in the sun on a cold day.  The sun ensures the child keeps its eyes closed and the fresh air contributes to a healthful sleep.  That’s pretty much the effect it had upon me.  Two hours passed effortlessly before I stirred.  The sun was beginning to dip behind the canopy of trees and some gauze-like clouds muted the warmth of the sun.  Until then however I was in a state of reverie, pleasantly lost in my thoughts, aimlessly slipping from one to another.