It's so cold here I keep waking up with my knees against my chest. The sewers look like they have something to prove. When I was in high school, my dad cut a piece of rubber to the size of my windshield so I wouldn't have to scrape the windows on cold mornings. That was when I was driving this Hawaiian girl to school who had the longest, most beautiful hair in the world. Then she put bronze highlights in it and looked American. I was disappointed. I had nothing to say to her. We watched our breaths and rifled through bad radio stations. She liked hip hop. I pretended to. Those were the coldest drives I've ever taken.
I used to wear mittens more often and dread the cold less. This year, I am re-acclimating from the South to the mountains, and finding that weather recollection is not something built into our muscle memory. I am constantly surprised by the dawn and dusk chill, like I've never felt air that bites. Other things I remember better: songs, street names, phone numbers, the smells of southern flowers. I picked up a honeysuckle candle this weekend and it put me right back on our warm cypress-board porch.
What I do love is down comforters and snow like down, and the moment right after the sheets aren't freezing anymore. On the 100-degree-plus days in New Orleans, all we could do was lay on the couch with the fans sprinting and the beers sweating and our hair strands strapping themselves in wet lines down the sides of our faces. The same fatigue effects me in severe cold. There is less energy, at least for me, in the extremes.
Because of my preoccupation and my occupation, I keep seeing missing marks everywhere: semi-colons, commas, a gratuitous letter here, a meaning obscured there. I spend all day behind this screen pruning and adding. If I could prune the world, I would take away unnecessary apostrophes, bad tempers, and joint pain. If I could add things they'd be: indoor pools, places you can nap if you need to, and handwoven blankets for all the cold people on Speer.