It’s the kind of cold here today that leads to those “it’s so cold…” jokes. The kind of wind chills that lead public school officials to close schools. When the “feels like” temperatures drop into negative double digits, it changes things. For some people…
Livestock farmers go ahead and feed their cattle. Dairy farmers proceed with milking. Garbage collectors and postal workers continue making their rounds. We still expect grocery stores, gas stations, and fast food places to be open. Mostly…
There’s a degree of relativity, of course. Folks in Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and other points well north of here pretty much figure it’s just another winter day. “Only in double digits below zero? Well, we’ve seen worse than this. Oh, you betcha.” And most likely, they still went ahead and walked to school anyway, even those it was uphill in both directions.
Regardless of the amount and degree of experience, there are extra precautions. A car breaks down when it’s sixty degrees and it’s an inconvenience. At minus twenty that inconvenience has implications that can result in tissues with permanent damage and make us confront issues of mortality.
And so when I head out through the Flint Hills tonight on my way three hours north, I’ll pack extra clothes and extra covers. Maybe even a bit of food and water. And hope that I don’t need them. I found out some time ago that prayer and preparation are a good combination. Especially when the wind is against you.