What a difference a day makes! This morning it was 14°F. at the cabin. Yesterday morning it was 43°. It feels quite a lot more like winter this morning, though somewhat to my surprise I can still sense differences between how the this morning feels with how a similar temperature would feel during a winter that is a long stretch of these temperatures. I am not as sure I can describe this difference in so many words. But naturally I will try.
As best as I can describe it, this morning’s cold doesn’t feel “deep” yet. Oh, the ground is hard again and the cold bites well enough, but in a long winter of cold temperatures, eventually coldness will seep into everything. There is no shelter from it, no covered up piece of outdoor furniture or forgotten rake that is left unpenetrated by the cold. Bird seed kept in a tin and then a plastic bucket and covered with a tarp is still cold through all those layers.
It is the same for the trees and the ground and the rocks of the forest. In a normal winter the cold gets into everything. This is a good thing as it kills much of that nasty bacteria that can cause disease. A good, solid deep cold helps keep the numbers of mosquitoes and other insects down in the summer. This is especially concerning here because of West Nile virus. Anything that can help reduce the spread or ferocity of that is a good thing.
It will take some time and many more days of cold like this, though I don’t know exactly how many, before the cold temperature can seep into all the nooks and crannies of the forest. I would expect that it will take weeks for the process to work fully. I just hope we get that much cold before spring. One day down and hopefully many more just like this to go.