A cold snap has hit, and the temperature has plunged down into the teens. It was a brisk 15 degrees Fahrenheit when I took a very insistent Betty on a walk around Schiller Park this morning. There was a thickening sheet of ice on the pond, which would have been totally sheathed in ice but for the bubbling devices that are intended to maintain some of the surface as water for the Canadian geese.
It may only be a matter of degrees — literally — but there is a significant perceptual difference between temperatures in the twenties and temperatures in the teens. When the thermometer dips into the teens, the air suddenly has a marked, almost solid physical presence, especially when there is a slight breeze. It wraps every inch of exposed skin in its gelid embrace, sucking out every trace of heat and moisture and leaving the face feeling raw and stiff. It makes a morning walk feel like a real accomplishment.
After a walk with the temperature in the teens, a hot cup of coffee tastes mighty good.