This Christmas morning brings the reminder of how good it is to have a warm house, warm clothes, and a chair you can pull up beside the fire.
It’s 33° outside, where it’s mixed rain and snow; the clouds filling the ravine are low, dark, and being driven past slavishly by the gusting winds. The winds are gusting past 40 knots, and have a steady-state (if you can call it that) of about 15 knots. These same winds, in their haste to shred the clouds, slam noisily against the house, savagely flinging the snow into the windows with an angry hiss.
The landscape of the ravine changes from moment-to-moment; look up and it’s a bleak, cold, and windy barrenness with an evil, cold driving wind. The memory of being out in it earlier this morning brings a chill back to the hands and feet. Hunker down next to the fire for a minute to read your book, and the next time you look up, it’s a wonderland: snowing hard, all shadows and cruel edges to the forest and ravine all softened by that light you get only in a snowstorm. Flakes soar hypnotically beyond the windows, with no clue of the intense cold outside.
Wheaton got a dog-raincoat for Christmas, and this morning as we walked down to fetch The Daily Obvious from the paper-box, I think he was glad to have it. For my part, I was glad to see him tolerating it, because it has reflective tape on all the seams. We were almost hit by one of the less-careful people on the lane a while ago, and anything that can be done to improve our visibility and therefore safety is a plus.
Here’s a shot of Wheaton, modeling his new raincoat.
I think he’s glad for it, because this morning’s weather was that bone-soaking cold that we get here in this part of the country.
It’s a combination of the rain, humidity, and the wind. I had a very good friend who came from Nebraska, and he said that he actually got colder here than at home. All I can tell you is that I had four layers on this morning, and although they were waterproof, the rain had driven most of the way through the first layer – in just that short walk down to the paper-box. On the way home, neither of us – man and dog – wasted any time getting back. By the time I got back, my face was so cold that it was beginning to propagate to the other parts of my body. This is what they mean when they say, ‘the chill creeps through you’.
I came back to find the furnace running, to my surprise. We have set the furnace at a very low ‘just in case’ temperature to keep the house from getting too cold. It costs about $8 per average day to run the furnace, and about $4 per day at maximum to heat with the pellet stove.
I’d left with the stove set on level 2 of 5; when I got back I immediately raised it to 5. Standing in front of it for a few minutes helped to chase the chill – a bit.
As the house warms up, we wish you warmth: Warmth at your hearth, a warm cup of coffee for your hand, the warmth of heart that loved ones bring, and the warmth of greetings in Christ, in whom is all Hope.