12 November 2009

November Overcast: Coming Into The Cold

Today was another
November Overcast day, as yesterday was. The trees seemed to have about half as many leaves on them as they had yesterday. Oddly enough, the leaves haven't lost much of their color yet. So, in the winds that whorled about with greater force as the day wore on, red and yellow whirlpools spun on the ground as the gray sky seemed to stand still.

And as the day wore on, it got colder. This morning was definitely chillier than last night, and this afternoon almost frosty compared to the morning. That may have had to do with the stiffening wind.

I noticed the cold even more after entering the college's main building and my office. Now, I'm not using that sensation as a metaphor for my emotional state or the vibes I felt upon arriving at the college. I'm sure that it really was colder. All of my female students and colleagues said so, without my prompting. That's usually a sure sign.

I remember having the same sensation during my first November, December and winter after I started to take hormones. My then-doctor warned me about other possible side-effects, but not about any increased sensitivity to cold. Maybe he didn't warn me of that because it simply never would have occured to him, being male.

And it was funny that the winter before I started taking hormones was one of the warmest on record, while the following winter was one of the coldest and snowiest. National Weather Service data confirms it. Likewise, last winter was relatively a mild, if grey, season as I awaited my operation. Will this winter be another cold and snowy one? Or will it just feel that way?

I've been convinced that this sensitivity to cold is at least partially hormonal. But now I'm starting to wonder whether it has something to do with what organs you have. Or am I noticing the cold more now than I did last year because I'm still recovering from the surgery. I'm feeling well, but I'm sure that my system is more vulnerable than it was at this time last year. Maybe I'll get some of that old fortitude back. But even if I don't, that will be all right. I'll think of that old Civil Rights chant: "I aint what I wanna be. I ain't what I oughta be. But thank God I'm not what I was."

Besides, even after the spectacle of October, there is something beautiful about the austerity of the light through branches that are losing their leaves.

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