The Norman Transcript

Opinion

January 8, 2014

It’s only wintertime now

NORMAN — Like most people, we like to talk about the weather, but it’s rare when we actually do something about it. Yet the cold snap this week 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 was then known as “winter.”

It has a long history and 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. They still sell those today.

They were the only good hunting gear we could get. Even if they got wet, the thick wool would provide some warmth. 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?

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

Times were simpler then. It guided us as we set about our chores. 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!”

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.

— Beckley (W.Va.) Register-Herald

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