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Negative Ten Degrees Fahrenheit
by Jeremy Browning
Dec. 07, 2005 03:06

I sped down main street at 2:30 this moring on the way home from a very late night at work.

The once-slushy roads crunched under my tires.

I huddled, almost hunch-backed. I didn't dare turn on the fans yet or they'd just blast me with that -10 ° air. I felt so pitiful: me versus the giant valley full of -10 ° air.

Streamers of hot air rose from the smokestacks on every house, and every business.

I imagined stepping inside those places.

And then I just marveled that we were able to live in such uninhabitable regions.

If the force that heated those buildings was shut off, we'd all be dead soon.

The freeze would just creep inside our walls and turn everything into rock-solid ice.

We could burn stuff. Start fires, you say? The clever among us might keep one or two rooms of our houses warm. The rest of us would light our houses on fire while trying, or freeze to death attempting to light something.

Tonight I really understood that this unrelenting cold was a force large than me. It could squeeze the life out of me.

But what kept it at bay?

Fundamentally, what allows us to keep nature at bay so confidently?

I say "confidently" because I don't see our stockpiles of wood, food, etc. I'll be sleeping naked under a duvet tonight. We lay down our remote controls, brush our teeth and stagger to our beds in our warm little houses. And a few feet away is that brutal winter that claimed countless ancestors, no doubt.

But we feel at ease.

Hooray for the force that makes it all possible.

Namely, the human mind.

log (lôg) n. a record of details of a voyage made by a ship's captain or crew