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November 29, 2006 / Maleesha Kovnesky

A Cold Memory

Right now in my hometown, it is -18 degrees.  Freezing.  It’s been a while since I was in that kind of cold.  We live at 9200 feet above sea level in Colorado, but it still never gets as cold here as it did on a regular basis in Butte, Montana. 

I come from a long line of winter-hardy people.  My ancestors hung out in Russia, some even in the remote areas of Siberia.  Cold!  Today’s immediate family resides in Montana, which is dry and cold, and northern Wisconsin, which is wet-cold in that bone-freezing, winter of nightmares kind of way.  Presently it is about 5 degrees outside, and I dread even peeking my nose out the door.  I became wimpified somewhere along the line!  I can’t even think about going to Montana for Christmas.  Too cold for me! 

The coldest I have ever felt was in Butte, MT years ago.  It was morning, and -65.  The slight breeze made it -75 with wind chill.  Beyond cold.  Beyond what your freezer is set to.  There was ice on the windows inside the house.  The fireplace was going as hot as we could get it, but the house was still cold.  We all stayed under the covers in the waterbed all day.  Even the mean cat who hated people crawled under the covers with us.  I must have been 9 or 10 years old.  I remember getting brave for a moment, and cracking the front door open to see what it felt like without the thin walls of the house protecting us.  The eerie thing I remember best is the utter silence, like the air itself was frozen.  I remember shouting something, but my voice sounded funny–does sound freeze?  I’m sure it was only a matter of seconds before I was back under the covers in the waterbed.

Presently it is about 5 degrees outside, and I dread even opening the door.  Some days I think about living in Tucson year round.  I am sorry ancestors…I have failed you. 


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