A nice respite from a winter that hasn’t made it here just yet

Today has been a beautiful day outside. No clouds can be found and it was warm enough this afternoon to go for a walk in shorts and a T-shirt. Winter is slightly more than a week away but we have seen freezing temperatures a couple of times already here in Southeast Texas this month and those temps below 40 degrees  for more than half of our evening lows. That, of course, pales in comparison to what seems practically two-thirds of the rest of the country this month.

A friend in Alaska e-mailed a picture of her husband snow-blowing for the second time, I assume she means in the same day. She noted that Anchorage received 16 inches over a two-day period, a time during which it had to warm up to snow.

This country has enough versatility that if it were possible to sell such differences we’d probably be like those folks in the super oil-rich nations of the Middle East where people get paid simply to exist. That not being the case, we must instead work out in all kinds of weather and even have our livelihoods live or die upon the weather.

I never worked outside much, at least where the weather was a major factor. That is, unless the weather was hot. When I was a younger man and worked fighting fires, I certainly had no type of weather affect what I was doing. At least, we weren’t told to go home if it got too hot to make a fire call. Likewise, we weren’t sent home if the streets became slick with ice.

It might seem obvious that fires would be easier to handle in colder weather than hot. Well, sometimes yes and sometimes no. Let’s say you have a freezing cold day. You enter a building pretty much, burning up, pun intended. Well, you will feel better or at least warm up temporarily. But, hopefully, a few minutes later you emerge from having the fire’s main body knocked down. Back then, I smoked cigarettes, so I’d smoke two or three after a fire like many of my cohorts would. Don’t ask me why.

Eventually, you not only warm up you then cool down and then may start freezing your ass off because you begin to sweat, especially if you are wearing long-johns. That, plus an extra 50 pounds or so in firefighting gear. There seems no way to win.

Then there are those days when it’s cold enough that you need to wear outerwear on the outside but not on the inside. In the winter, especially, people tend to have many interior places overly warm. There are different reasons, among them being large spaces to keep warm. You go inside from the cold, but it is not-too-cold inside. In fact, it gets hot quickly.

The concept of “layers” is suggested for many locations. This is true in places where it gets cold then warms fairly soon as the day progresses. Then you are taking part of your clothes off and, unless you are in a familiar space, you have to find something to do with your sweater or coat or both. Or maybe your pants, just for something completely different.

Seasons do not usually turn an “on” and “off” button but you have plenty of head start that winter is on its way and soon. Take for instance the snow and yuck many places have already received this year in North America. So, you have received fair warning that winter is upon us and for many the climate will only get worse. Be sure to layer up, button up and probably, you will want to keep your pants on in most cases. Unless you happen to find yourself in a “pants optional” spot.

Just remember that you can’t prepare for all contingencies, but do endeavor to use what little sense you’ve been given. Have a happy winter.