1 January

Study In Cold

by Jon Katz
Study In Cold

The best way to deal with bitter cold, I believe, is to keep moving, keep creating, keep feeling. The real challenge is not to survive the cold, I will certainly do that, but to capture the feeling of it. It is now too cold for me to stand outside for any more than five or ten minutes, and by the weekend, I will not be able to stand outside at all, if the forecasts are correct.

That is a shock to me and also a wake-up call, as it leaves me with many things to do. One of them is to get into the car and drive around looking for ways to capture this brutal cold wave that has engulfed so much of the country, and caused much greater hardship than Maria and I face.

I thought all day of my farmer friends and what they must endure to keep their tractors running and manure cleared and cows fed and milked. I hope they find relief and comfort soon.

I have learned in my life to reject drama in all of its forms, it is distracting and paralyzing to me. Up here, the weather will sometimes turn hard, and you just deal with it, like the death of a dog. It doesn’t make me hard, it makes me soft on life. I have never gotten anywhere in life by pretending that life is anything but what it is.

I may be limited in what I can do outside, but I am not l limited in what I can do. Time to get creative. I got in the car and drove around.

I know that many people simply stay inside when the weather gets this extreme, but that is not my choice. If I can’t be in it, I can capture what it feels like, and on a hill near the farm I took this photo with my Petzval 58 art lens around 2 p.m. That is what it felt like.

Standing outside did get to me, I won’t pretend otherwise, I just felt drained and exhausted when I got him, it took me a half hour to stop shivering. Maria made me a mug of hot chocolate, which turned things around.

This, I think, is what cold looks like, it was -2 degrees at 2 p.m. Today will seem balmy next to what we are told is coming. The high on Friday will be -3, the low – 18 to -20. I know our animals will be okay, but we feel for them, it is not a comfortable time to be a sheep or a donkey or a cow.

Our barn cats are in the basement, they have heat, food, water, two furry cat beds, and even some mice. They will be there for awhile.

We still don’t know if a brute storm charging up the East Coast will get to us.

I was sorry to cancel our trip to New York this weekend to see my granddaughter, but we couldn’t leave the farm in the care of a house-sitter, no matter how competent.

Gus needs particular attention, and if there is a big and damaging story we ought to be here. We want to be here.

I like the “Study In Cold,” I can feel my cold feet whenever I look at it. I did have to get out of the car to shoot it and it felt like my bone marrow had turned to ice.


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