At the Stewart Park Promontory
Temperature: 25 degrees
Wind: 5-11 MPH
Clouds: Yes, of course
Humans and Animals seen: Only the crazy ones who got lost on their way to Florida
My notes for today begin “cold, white, cloudy, crappy.” I've been willing to play along, work in an occasional cross-country ski or skate on the pond, marvel at the glistening sparkles across the snow drifts, enjoy the slap-in-the-face cold that I'll long for on those long, humid, hot days of summer. But the game is over. That's it. I’m done.
It doesn't help that today I’m in a bad mood. Is it the cyclical hormones, the infiltration of winter, or the pressing cabin fever that has my mood sinking? Probably all of the above, but I leave my car and fumble around the Promontory loop anyway. All I see is high snow banks, deep post holes, and white and gray monotony burning my eyeballs into oblivion.
I picked the warmest day of the week to visit the Promontory, but I feel frozen. If the ice shelf went out far last week, this week it’s glacial. You can walk across the frozen tundra here at the southern half. I haven’t heard reports that it is frozen completely farther north, but it must be getting close. I see people far out there, and I have an inkling to go too. But I know that will only increase my bad mood. Trapped on an ice sheet in the dead of winter, only a notebook and camera as defense, and cloaked in negativity—probably not the best plan.
According to the US Climate Data website, Ithaca’s average temp in January is around 22 degrees. February's norm is around 24 degrees. According to the Ithaca Climate Page, temperatures this January ranged five to twenty degrees below the norm. But February, ah February, that month of spreading love with hearts and candy, that short month that the groundhog dictates, that month where the earth is supposed to be turning back toward our sun, this February ranged daily from ten to thirty degrees lower than the norm. One day, it was 35 degrees below the norm. There aren't enough candy hearts or groundhogs to get me to appreciate that.
I snoop around the boathouse to try and keep myself out of the wind. It doesn't work. But there are some intriguing patterns: the slats on the balcony, the stairs with their chipped paint, the curves of the beams overhead. Patterns that normally I would render beautiful. But today all I see is a state of disrepair, the decrepit nature of the old building, a shabby attempt at shelter.
I realize, of course, that deep winter will soon dissolve into warm spring. And before I know it, I’ll be cursing the plethora of deer ticks and raging against the heat waves that summer will bring. But today it's hard to imagine. Today, the only things that exist are cold, white, cloudy, crappy.