the last couple weeks, I've been braving the cold like a real, hardcore canadian. I've gone out at night without hat or gloves, I haven't succumbed to wearing long underwear, and I haven't touched my winter coat. while my classmates have buried themselves in fur-lined coats and scarves, I've turned up to lecture in a t-shirt, steadfastly maintaining that it's not cold until you have to plug in the car at night.
anyone who knows me knows that I wear hoodies when it's 25 degrees out and flannel pjs in july, so the 'really, it's not cold at all' thing was clearly a front. or, maybe, an attempt to cling to the reminants of my inner canuk as I come to realize that someone who was born and raised in the US, carries a US passport and, apart from attending university, has never really lived in canada is seen - and probably justly so - as a bloody yankee by the rest of the world. anyway, that front flatlined and spontaneously combusted today.
this morning I took the bus out to baslow. from there, it's a 25 minute walk (give or take half an hour, depending on your sense of direction) to chatsworth, the beautiful old mansion whose non-tourist-infested clone was featured in movie the secret garden. I managed to locate the footpath that leads from baslow onto the grounds of chatsworth with minimal difficulty. having taking into account while getting dressed the thick frost out my window and the fact that the temperature always seems a few degrees lower in the peaks, I was quite cozy (or at least, non-hypothermic) in my two layers of pants, pajama top and wool sweater.
the first bit of the footpath is a long, narrow passageway wedged between a stone wall and a barbed-wire fence. it looked very pretty with jagged bits of frost coating the stones and wires and overhanging branches glazed in ice. the path had recently been flooded and bits of frozen grass and leaves poked out through ice several inches thick.
I sauntered jauntily down the path and was just estimating how far I could slide with a running headstart when there was a cracking sound under me. I grabbed at the fence and leapt onto a bit of stump just in time to save one foot from an icy mudbath. clinging onto the barbed-wire for dear life, I considered my options: build a raft, ford the river, caulk the wagon and float it, or hire an indian for help. lost my wagon to fire and the english countryside is awash with neither rafting materials nor indians. so, I had no choice but to ford six inches of frigid, half iced-over water, losing 50 pounds of food, one family member and all feeling in my feet. (none of the three people who read this are american... ever play the oregon trail?)
now I am sitting at my desk wearing four layers of clothes, a ski hat and my down blanket, drinking tea and wondering why in god's name I ever left canada, where ice freezes all the way through.