Tuesday, January 22, 2008


It's mid-winter, late January, in the deep freeze of Minnesota. Twenty-some degrees below zero — Centigrade, because that sounds more impressive; it's actually only about five below Fahrenheit. The sky is astonishingly clear. As I take the dog out for her first morning's romp around the yard, the rising Sun is just a vague pinkish glow a half-hour below the southeastern horizon, while the setting full Moon is a fat, cold, searchlight hanging low in the western sky. Moonlight looks "cold" because the Moon absorbs the longer wavelengths and reflects the shorter wavelengths in the sunlight it receives. If we could see further into the blue and ultraviolet end of the spectrum, as deer can, it would be bright as mid-day now.

I breathe through my nose; it's so cold, the moisture in my breath condenses on my nose hairs and in short order turns to ice. It's so cold, last night's fresh dusting of snow squeaks underfoot when I walk.

That's today's exercise. As you go through your day, try to notice one unique sense cue that makes the place where you are now clearly distinct from everywhere else. What is that cue?