Words and numbers tend to be abstract to most of us unless we have been there. Stories help and pictures even more. I remember a wide eyed 15 year old kid at a gas station in Georgia asking me to roll my window down and saying “you guys are never going to believe this but there is an electrical cord hanging out the front of your car”. After the laughter died down in the car we assured him we were from Minnesota and many cars needed to be plugged in overnight to stay warm enough to start in the extreme cold. He walked away in a huff saying “you guys are jiving me!” (OK, the language dates me to my college days and we were headed to the Florida beaches for spring break). I have since marveled at how many people have no concept of cold weather (or how to stay warm). As I write it’s noon on January 24 2013 and it is -7F, up from -25F this morning with a wind chill factor of -35F. This means that your exposed skin can be frozen solid in 10 minutes and you will lose that skin. Frost bite is real.
So what does cold weather look like? The woods surrounding our house looks the same in 30 degree weather as it does in -52 below zero (the coldest I can recall here). Maybe some pictures will help a little. I think most of our fishing plans happen in the foyer after church.
I suppose there are some subtle hints about how cold it might be and what kind of clothes we use to keep warm. Pictures can be deceiving. My trout picture was taken in the midst of a blast of wind and snow when it was about +35F (hence the bare hands ready to release). My wife has the coldest picture here at zero degrees.
It gets cold enough here for ice to reach 36+ inches thick and drive a logging truck across the lake. We start driving on the lakes when the ice reaches 12″ of clear ice (the sanity and safety of driving on a lake with a thin layer of ice is for another day).
My youngest brother picked up this nice pike recently in our winter weather. I fish much of the time in the open air and do well but I now have two fish houses and a heater.
Just as darkness is the absence of light, cold temperatures are merely the absence of heat. Our response is to cover our body well enough to trap our body heat. When I have gone winter camping the number one rule is “don’t get cold”. It is possible to camp in the wilderness and stay warm in very cold weather. It’s actually a great time if done right.
We build insulated houses up here (up to R80 insulation in the attic) with thick walls and insulated windows. Speaking of insulated windows, I have a few that need replacing. My best picture of what cold weather will do was taken a couple of day ago at -20F from inside my house.
It’s pretty! pretty expensive (absence of free windows).
There is a spiritual object lesson that I often think about when I am out in the cold (which I will be in a few minutes). I am reminded of the abstract concept of evil. It’s a lot like the cold in that we cannot see it but the the effects sure makes a lot of news. Evil takes it’s place in the absence of God. When I am outside in the cold and I build a fire to get warm, my body shuts down and rely s on external heat. If I walk away from the fire it does not matter how good my clothes are because my body has quit producing heat on it’s own. My high tech clothes can only trap the body heat to keep me warm so I get cold. My natural response would be to stand there and shiver. It’s actually hard to get motivated enough to run in the snow or start working hard enough to fire up my body again and get warm. God is the source of all good…whatever good we have came from our creator not us. If we walk away from God we walk into a dark and cold place and into the absence of heat, light, and good. As always feel free to comment