Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

January 7, 2014

It’s winter

Forecasts scientific, but becoming more scary

Like most people, we like to talk about the weather, but it’s rare when we actually get up off the couch to do something about it.

Yet the cold snap this week, with discussion of the “polar vortex” and numbers of minus-this or minus-that, had us remi­niscing about what it was like back in the day.

Some of the older folks among us may understand that what is happening to­day, historically speaking, was then known as “win­ter.”

It has a long history and, in fact, seemed to come around about every year or so.

That was before breath­able and waterproof mira­cle fabrics, or even polar fleece longjohns. We had Woolrich hunting jackets, dark red with a thin weave of black plaid. They still sell those today, and they’re still as expensive as they were then.

But they were the only good hunting gear we could get. Even if they got wet, the thick wool would provide some warmth. And we could almost dry them out if we hung them overnight next to the hunt­ing camp’s stove. Almost.

Back then, there were several less-scientific an­swers to the question of the day: Just how cold was it?

Well, there was “It’s nip­py out there,” and then it progressed to “It’s durn cold,” and then it went to “It’s pretty durn cold!” all the way to “It’s awful durned cold!”

Times were simpler then, and that was good enough. It guided us as we set about our chores, be they city work or farm work, shovel­ing snow or feeding ani­mals and livestock. No weather was so bad that animals were allowed to go unfed or unsheltered.

Those descriptions, though, weren’t good enough for modern weath­ercasters. So they had to invent the “wind-chill fac­tor,” so they could put a number to “It’s durn cold — and windy!” in order to make us feel even colder.

The frigid weather we’re seeing is part of an ancient rhythm, a short phase in the lovely changes we expe­rience as we pass through the seasons.

Winter itself is something to be celebrated. For with­out it, and these long nights and cold days, we would not feel so exhilarat­ed at the arrival of spring.

It was ever thus, and the first warmish days of a new year complete an eternal cycle of life, death and re­birth.

There are no numbers to measure what that means to the human spirit.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Please return valuable items taken from woman’s parked van

    On July 8 at 2:33 p.m. my 16-year-old granddaughter Caitlyn Cook and I arrived at Children’s Medical Group for a 3 p.m. appointment.

    July 23, 2014

  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legion honor guard available to honor veterans at their funerals

    We in the honor guard of Fort Cumberland Post 13, American Legion, performed 196 veterans service in 2013.

    July 22, 2014

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tell legislators to do what is right for America’s vets

    Without our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where would America be today? It is anyone’s guess, however certainly not the Freedom and Liberty we enjoy.

    July 18, 2014

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Move over Move over

    Have you noticed, in your travels, that the front end of a police cruiser usually protrudes a bit more than you would expect when the officer has it parked behind another vehicle on the side of the road?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Use local workers in building new Baltimore Pike travel stop

    As a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing Allegany County, and specifically the City of Cumberland, I welcome you to our community as you prepare to construct a Love’s Travel Stop at the above referenced location (on Baltimore Pike).

    July 17, 2014