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Define 'cold'

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It was 3 degrees below zero when I shut off the snooze alarm for good this morning. As I drove to work with my truck's heater battling the cold outside air, I looked at the bare trees on the hills adjoining the road and wondered where deer go when it's so cold.

Do they huddle together to share body heat? Do they paw at the hills' leafy floors to fashion a rude nest of dead leaves for them to lie in and trap their own warmth? Do they find a dense stand of pine trees somewhere, a place where maybe not so much snow has reached the ground because of the trees' awning of needles?

Do they understand the concept of cold being a contrast to hot? When you and I are sliced by a cutting west wind of winter, we shudder and tell ourselves we won't be in the cold for long—we'll be sheltered soon in our warm cars, our offices or homes. Do deer understand cold as a temporary condition? Perhaps cold for them is simply a matter of the moment—a moment that does not exist in contrast with any moments that have come and gone, or will come and go.

What does cold mean to a deer? It makes me wonder.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
nodressrehersal
Jan. 24th, 2013 02:24 pm (UTC)
I'm glad I'm not alone in the oddities I wonder about.

Perhaps cold for them is simply a matter of the moment—a moment that does not exist in contrast with any moments that have come and gone, or will come and go.

There's so much to ponder in that one line. It seems like sometimes, having other moments to compare our "now" to is helpful, especially in instances of discomfort, sadness, distress, or some other unpleasantness. But how much pleasure from our "now" moments do we miss because we're comparing them to other past pleasurable moments of "now"...
patrick_vecchio
Jan. 25th, 2013 12:32 am (UTC)
That's a great question, Jamie: How much do we miss by not being in the now? And it raises another one: How much of our anxiety is caused by living in the past or living in our poor predictions of what's to come?

nodressrehersal
Jan. 25th, 2013 01:57 am (UTC)
I would almost be willing to go out on a limb and say 95% in answer to the second question. Seriously...how often is what we're preoccupied worrying about actually happening right NOW? Hardly ever - it's almost always about something that's over and done, or yet to come.

There's a lot of wisdom in the suggestion that we be present in the now, but damn, it's not all that easy.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 25th, 2013 12:53 am (UTC)
If this were a Gary Larson cartoon, one would find a squadron of deer with an extension cord running from the back a barn attached to a space heater with a line like "C'mon Bruce flip that switch, it's cold out here!"
patrick_vecchio
Jan. 25th, 2013 02:08 am (UTC)
A "squadron" of deer?
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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