That’s the best way to describe the feeling the exposed parts of your face take on. They become crust.

An unrelentingly cold prairie morning, sun blazing, rapping my mittens against the tetherball pole to see how the flakes of ice would shatter, then slither.

I am so f***ing cold

But fully awake, and this world, though frozen, is alive.

My nose runs, but not for long. Any kind of production or flow halted by -23. Stuck on my lip until I return to the sudden blast of central heating


Which, by the way, doesn’t exist here.

I step outside and straddle the motorbike, shimmy and shake it back towards the gate

This cold hits different

For one, the drops of rain come at an angle. Being February, this is no Moldy March mist.

This is real rain. And humid, soak-you-to-the-bones cold.

I’m equally grateful for my waterproof poncho and the warmth of elephant as he snuggles in behind. Behind him perches Rhino. Three abreast is pretty much the norm here.

We do not appear out of place.


Rhino’s voice skirts the wind

Did you know that our senses are unable to distinguish between cold and wet?


I think

But in this moment it doesn’t matter which one we’re talking about.

As we ride, Snowpiercer chills take me.

This may have been a mistake

But the boys, as ever, remain unphased. Not even a sniff of whinge.

So grateful for these two

We meander, as motorbikes do here, rarely cresting 40. I’m okay with that, even though it extends the chill.

Today would have been a good day to wear goggles.

I debate digging into the boys’ bag for swim goggles, but numb handed gymnastics so my helmet can fit over top of the goggles and masks is just too much.

I tweeze drops out of my eyes, secretly yearning for summer days that everyone complains are too hot.

J’s voice finds its way to my ears

Life is simply preparing to die so we know best how to live

Her words vibrato as knuckles clench, ice fuels rain, puddles leap at my feet. 

I’m so very cold, but fully awake.

My boys are close

and the world feels alive.

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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  1. I’ve never thought about the difference between “cold cold” and “wet cold” but you’re so right. Thanks for sharing in such great detail.

    Liked by 1 person

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