There has been a prolonged cold snap here in the Litchfield Hills and across much of the Northeast this week. Back when I had facial hair, this kind of weather would have frozen the condensation of my breath in my beard and mustache. We have dipped below zero, into territory that is increasingly unusual in our warmer winters here in Southern New England. I've seen colder weather, and been out in it much longer, but it is mighty cold nonetheless.
I have watched the ice freeze hard and fast in the river and over the wider lakes and ponds. I wonder whether black ice will form, that sleek obsidion surface that is the finest of all for skating, and if I will have an opportunity to get out on any of it before if gets obscured by snow or marred by thaw. I remember with great fondness those chidlhood winter days with pond hockey on black ice and hope to experience that again.
The igloo my kids and I made last week was still solid but reduced by warmer weather when the big chill took hold. Now it is diamond hard, its skeleton of snow blocks distinct but strong. We made ice lanterns by freezing balloons filled with water and at night these now glow in the piercing cold.
I do not expect the low temperatures to last. We could easily swing back on a 50 degree arc, and find it suddenly Springlike. Out here on the end of the scale, it is worth pausing to fill my lungs with that sharp, cold air, remembering how it felt when facing the next heat wave, perhaps in April, as was the case several years ago.