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Posted: December 15, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Bundle up and wait out winter

I tried to check out the Geminid meteor shower before dawn on Tuesday.

It was clear out, and there was the promise of a great show, with up to 100 meteors an hour. I put Sophie, the granddog, out the back door, poked my head out to catch a glimpse of the frigid sky, but got no farther.

It was too darn cold.

It was 16 degrees out there, according to my thermometer. Not even the promise of celestial fireworks was worth doing battle with a temperature in the teens.

Even Sophie demurred to the cold, barely leaving the deck to do her business before she was ready to return to the relative warmth of the couch.

Relative, because it stays cold in our cottage in the woods. This is a circa-1950 home with a wall full of windows in the back. The furnace seems to run constantly (I’m dreading the gas bill) and we’ve fired up the space heater, but that does little to take the ache off middle-aged bones.

So we layer up, hide bare feet in double pairs of socks and wear jackets and robes as we lounge. Donna lights a fire in the fireplace that gives off a warm glow but no heat.

I used to thrive in cold, savoring the occasional Arctic blast. I’d spend hours outside enjoying weather that now sends me running indoors in mere minutes. Wind blowing flurries sideways as happened Sunday was once a sensory delight but is now for me better enjoyed by looking out a window.

The morning walks with the dog that are usually such a pleasure this week are lunchtime chores, if they get done at all. We’re all-too-frequently just pushing Sophie out the back door.

And it’s not even winter yet.

Winter solstice is not until Tuesday, the shortest day of the year. It’s just barely light out when we get ready for work, and it’s been dark out for an hour before we get off.

And did I mention that it’s cold out?

I’m looking forward to Christmas, but I’ve also got my eye on the calendar and I’m anxiously awaiting spring. We’ve already laid in a supply of candles to light up the deck when it warms up. I can’t wait for its somnambulant chorus of crickets and tree frogs.

Summer will soon follow, and with it, the Perseid meteor shower in August.

It’s usually not as good a show as its Geminid cousin, and August means sweat, bugs and oppressive heat.

But that sounds good to me just about now. At least you can sit outside in shorts and a T-shirt.

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