The Coldest Day of the Year
by, 01-17-2009 at 02:11 PM (962 Views)
The coldest weather of the year visited us on the 16th of January. I caught a local weather report that stated that it missed the expected coldest day by one day. This was news to me and I wasn't sure what he meant, so I began investigating.
It would make sense that the shortest day of the year should also be the coldest day of the year since lack of sun would seem to mean lack of warmth. However, it takes two weeks to a month for different parts of our earth to catch up with the sun's activities. For our area, we can expect the cold air to catch up with the shortest day about 27 days later. That would make our expected coldest day being the 17th. Scientists weren't too far off in the anticipation.
The 16th of the month had temperatures with the wind chill factor of up to 12 degrees below zero at my last count. The valley didn't seem to get quite as cold, but the wind and snow covering may have aided the mountain to get a bit more colder. No snow, although the ground did look quite cold, was to be found in the valley. Their roads were cleared and thus many would have had a hard time imagining how snow packed and icy Shenandoah River Drive was on my way to school. Beautiful winter wonders were to be had by those with eyes to seem them.
Slabs of ice floated abundantly on the Shenandoah River, and although I had been use to seeing icy edges along the Ohio River during the years I had lived there, seeing such slabs was a new experience for me. The rapid areas of water were frosty white, and I couldn't even imagine how cold such water could be.
Small birds were flying everywhere, bundling up near buildings large and small. One neighbor reported quite a number of a variety of our feathered friends on her feeders looking like small bundles of feathers. I could well understand their attempts at trying to keep warm, and I was very glad that so many look after these precious creatures.
After work, I went to pick up my youngest. It took her only 6-10 minutes to get into the car, but since my van has been moaning and protesting greatly of late to be taken to an auto doctor, I turned the motor off during the wait. Hating to lose time, I took my gloves off and did some grading of papers while waiting. Before my youngest could even get into the car, my fingers were stiff and frozen with the cold. Putting back my gloves and turning on the heat to warm back up made them ache as if the cold had been indeed deep in such a little time. Yes, I could well understand the birds' need to keep warm. I prayed a quick prayer for all the homeless and those who might be caught out in such temperatures.
Upon returning home, I was greeted by four deer that have often stood in the very place they were now standing on the edge of my property and the side road. My daughter quickly jumped out of the van and slammed the door. One deer slowly ventured up the wood to the opposite side of my road. I gathered up my items, taking my time, before closing my car door. This seemed to have troubled another deer that also slowly traveled after his peer. I walked towards the remaining two and got within an yard of them before they two slowly lumbered after their friends. The world seemed to hush in silence for a suspended time as a lone woman and some local wildlife shared a breath of air between them. How awesome was the moment in time and how much more enriched I was for this winter experience.