Happy New Year! It's into the freeze now

I woke this new morning to find a beautiful dusting of snow covering the garden, like powdered sugar on a spice cake. We’re off to a fine start for the New Year. Except that there’s already six to eight inches of snow promised for tonight. Ordinarily that’s not too bad. Hell, we’ve had that in feet. Well... three to four feet of it anyway.

But howling on the heels of this particular snow is apparently some bitter, bitter cold. International Falls, Minnesota, already billed as North America’s coldest city, set a new record low for itself early this morning with a temperature of minus forty-two degrees fahrenheit. That’s about where Fahrenheit meets Celsius. Talk about bone chilling cold. In two scales.

Meteorologists are already calling this approaching storm a “snowmageddon’ and have dubbed it Hercules, in the contemporary manner with which people like to strew about names without really meaning anything. This particular classical reference seems rather a big disconnect. Strong, yes, but Boreas would have been more like it. I guess poor Boreas has never been in a TV series so he rates a big zero on the celebrity recognition scale, despite his considerable attributes.

But why even a Greek? For a winter storm the Greeks seem a little undressed, attractively buff but a tad too nude, to be bringing weather down on our heads from the Arctic. How about a ruddy Nordic type of god, one at home in the snow? They seem much better suited to the cold. If this snow is truly the one haunting meteorologists’ dreams, how about Hel, the stout, full-figured goddess of the frozen underworld, who lives at Éljúðnir, sprayed with snowstorms, in Helheim? How about her?

On second thought, let’s save Hel’s freeze for another day.
For that one storm to end all storms. Since I’m still waiting for the promised flakes to start falling, one of her tardy servants will do. I nominate Ganglati to sponsor this one. By any name, though, this winter storm’s howling its icy way to New York.

Of course, the City won’t get anywhere near so low and cold as International Falls, Minnesota. We’re on the coast, for one thing and buffered by the sea, with a big huge urban heat sink effect to take off the frigid edges to boot. Manhattan itself is an island doing what islands do best in the winter. Staying warmer! The garden’s quite sheltered as well. Still, the ten degrees, or so, fahrenheit we’re due to endure over Friday night is pretty unusual for these parts. And over Saturday night, again, the same. Maybe colder.

The garden, though, will be slumbering under a thick winter duvet of white. I’m actually hoping that the snows will be even deeper. Six to eight inches is a nice cover over the ground, to buffer it from the coming cold, but twelve to fifteen would be even nicer. Can I still place an order for more? Is there anyone in International Falls who hasn’t emigrated to Fort Lauderdale?

Oh, and Happy New Year everyone! See you after the snow.


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