Sunday, January 23, 2011


It was weather like this that made me vow, as a freshman at boarding school, that I would never again choose to live north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Alas, I haven't quite crossed back over the Line yet—I'm only a hundred miles or so south of where I was six years ago—but hopefully I'll make it back to warmer climes before all of my blood turns into antifreeze.

"Die kalten Winde bliesen / Mir grad ins Angesicht / Der Hut flog mir vom Kopfe"

It also doesn't help that part of Yale's response to higher energy bills seems to be cutting off the heat in areas such as stairways and common rooms. Trim the landscaping budget or cancel some weekend trip subsidies if necessary, but, dear Yale, please don't cut costs at the expense of our physical well-being.

When faced with such weather conditions, I generally avoid venturing outdoors and, when being outside is unavoidable, try to close my eyes and imagine myself bathed in sunlight on a warm beach. Try it sometime—I swear it works. (Except ask me first about the time I literally ran headfirst into a snow plow.)

But sometimes, there's magic in fighting fire with fire—or, more accurately in this context, 以冷治冷. Like naengmyeon in winter, for example (which I've actually never quite understood). Or in my case, eating ice cream in the courtyard last night while listening to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's rendition of Schubert's Winterreise (Winter Journey). 

Here's "Der Lindenbaum," the fifth song in the 24-part cycle, sung by English baritone Andrew Ashwin:

(Link to translation)