This morning we woke up to temperatures well below zero, and windchills that made it seem even colder. We aren't breaking any records like they are in northern Minnesota, but it's cold enough for the middle of December, thank you.
Yesterday it was well above freezing, and the snow was melting and slushy. I didn't need to button my coat or wear my earmuffs (thank goodness, since I had mislaid them) or even put on my mittens.
Today it is bitter. Which is to say, it is not good to have any area of skin exposed for more than a moment. The cold stings, bites, slaps our faces. Nostrils burn. Fingers and toes are numb. It's like an attack of some kind.
Bitter. It's a funny word, pinched and small. The word bitter doesn't just describe cold and wind like we are having right now. The word bitter can describe a taste as well as a touch. A wind can be bitter, or a medicine. Or a person.
What does it mean to say a person is bitter? That they leave a bad taste in your mouth? Or that their presence stings, bites, slaps our faces? I suspect the latter.
It's funny though. Sitting in here in my warm house, I can look at the snowy streets and trees, the branches glistening, the white blanket covering everything, and believe, in my heart, it's beautiful.
So beautiful, but still dangerous. Bitter.