Archive for January 22nd, 2022


GC Myers--Strange Victory II sm

GC Myers–Strange Victory II

You can’t possibly judge your ability to control something until you’ve experienced the extremes of its capabilities. Do you understand?

― Richard Russo, Empire Falls

Relax. This post is not about politics or political movements though the excerpt above from Empire Falls could certainly describe the devil’s pact the GOP made with the far right many years ago whose fruition we are currently witnessing.

Anything taken to its furthest extreme takes on forms that we can never fully anticipate, some absurd, some dangerous and deadly. But invariably coming to a point that is unsustainable.

This came to me this morning as I stepped outside into the frigid air.

It was -18°.

I’ve been in these temps and much lower before. There is something dramatically different between these sorts of temperatures and even 0° or -5°. The extreme temps and their visceral effect on my eyes, my breath and my exposed skin ( I should have put on shoes and pants before heading over to the studio!) tells me that I am in a danger zone, that this is not something with which to be trifled.

This makes me move quicker and increase my focus. Everything sharpens visually and sounds pop and erupt in the icy air. The boards on our walkway and the bridges in the woods blast out cracking protests with each step, sounding like iced cherry bombs snapping in the dark. Even the crunch of the snow and leaves underfoot booms with electric crackles.

Getting to the garage outside my studio, I am relieved to find that the kerosene heater I have set up for the feral cats is still burning. It’s not warm in there but it is enough to make it bearable and they seem to understand and appreciate that.

This made me think about the extremes we experience, in temperatures as well as in ideologies. We best survive and prosper in moderate temps. Frigid or burning temps both strain and imperil us. We may think we crave heat or coolness but our tolerance is only a short bit either way from the median. Beyond that we  reach into areas where we may not fully anticipate or understand how we may be affected.

I don’t know that I have a cogent point here. Maybe it’s: Be careful what you wish for. All I know is that I am sitting here in the studio, pleased that all my systems and utilities are working and excited at the prospects of the temperature reaching 20° later.

The extremes often force you to lower your expectations, I guess.

Here’s composer Max Richter‘s reimagining of  Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as performed by the New Ideas Chamber Orchestra. Some violin heat to warm up your morning.

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