Yep, that's my thermometer. -18°F. No, it's not broken — I took a quick shot of it on my out the door to walk to work. It's the coldest temperature I have ever seen in the 15 years I've lived in Winona Lake. Come to think of it, it's probably the coldest I've ever seen, anywhere. And just last week, I was thinking that it never got below zero around here. Hah!
As I shuffled down the squeaky-snow-covered sidewalk, one of my neighbors stared at me, wide-eyed, and motioned that I should get in the car with him. He looked genuinely worried about me. I'll be fine, I said. Besides, I already knew that one of my co-workers, Amy, was hurrying through her morning routine with plans to track me down and give me a ride lest I end up walking all the way. She did find me, standing knee deep in the snow along the bank of the lake, taking several photos to stitch together later into a panorama. When we got to work, she pressed her car keys into my hand and ordered me to take her car if I needed to go anywhere during the middle of the day. That actually turned out to be a very good thing, considering that Deborah needed to go to an appointment later, and all of our cars were marooned in one way or another.
That night, as I was heading home — it had warmed up to a comfy -4°F — I noticed that the air tasted sweet. I'm not sure what to make of that. One of our friends, Julie, said that she tasted it, too. I've always heard of 20° and below described as "bitter cold" — but this was anything but. Maybe once you get below zero, it starts getting "sweet cold." I wonder what temperatures we'd assign to salty, sour, and savory/umami?