11 December 2009

Into--Or From--The Cold

The past couple of days have been windy. Yesterday, before I went to work, I heard the clatter of something brittle toppling and breaking. Turned out to be one of my landlady's planters on her porch.

And it has turned markedly colder. The weather had been mild, if rather gray, through much of the fall. Cold as it was today, the sun shone.

Why am I talking about the weather, again? Well, these days are reminding me of when I first began to take hormones. I took my very first dose on Christmas Eve; about a month or so later, I started to feel some of the effects. Among them were my increased sensitivity to cold. It seemed that around the end of January or the beginning of February, the winds grew stiffer and the air grew colder than anything I could recall from previous years. As a matter of fact, around that time, one of the most intense blizzards this city has ever experienced dumped nearly two feet of snow, as I recall. I don't know whether the weather actually turned significantly colder at that time. But it certainly seemed that way.

Other people have assured me that it has indeed been much colder during the past couple of days: They're feeling it, too. Still, I can remember when I would venture out on a day like this in not much more than a long-sleeved cycling jersey and a vest. Sometimes I even wore shorts. When I went out today, I was wearing my English duffle coat with the toggle buttons and a long scarf. It was warm enough, even though I wore a faux twinset that isn't as heavy as it looks underneath my coat. I felt a little bit cold around my thighs and knees: I wore a wide flared skirt that fell to my calves and boots that came up to about two inches above the skirt's hemline. But I didn't wear heavy tights; I wore a regular pair of dark gray pantyhose. What was I thinking?

Then again, I often find that whether I feel cold, hot or something in between is not always a function of how much or what I'm wearing. If I were an astrologer, I'd say that, as a Cancerian, I am affected by the phases of the moon and the tides on the sea. I probably am; I probably would be even if I lived in Nebraska. Barbara Kingsolver wrote about something like that in "High Tide In Tucson." Her daughter had some sort of amphibious animal, as I recall, in a terrarium. Even though they were about a thousand miles from the ocean, that animal--I forget what--was sleeping and sleeping according to the rise and fall of the tides.

Like her daughter's "pet," I have the lunar and littoral cycle within me. That is probably the reason why I have always been drawn to the sea, and why I would live by its rhythms even if I were far away from it.

At least, I think I have the moon's and the ocean's clock programmed into my body's mechanisms, if not my DNA. It's the most plausible explanation I can find for the sensations I have, which sometimes seem out of sync with, or at least independent of, external stimuli.

But today actually was cold. I can tell you that much.