It’s been so cold for such a long spell lately that it’s got me thinking about cold and heat — and which is worse to endure for long periods.
Extreme heat is bad for a lot of reasons. It saps your energy, you’re a sweaty mess for most of the day, and — for me, at least — it’s impossible to get a good night’s sleep in a hot room. And, when a heat wave hits, you read stories about heat stroke and even death for people left in rooms without air conditioning. Extreme cold is bad for a lot of reasons, too. It’s uncomfortable and wearing to constantly feel chilled and shivery, bundling up produces hat head and static electricity shocks, and the cold, dry air leaves your skin feeling desiccated and cracked. And extreme cold can produce frostbite and death, as well as sad news stories about unfortunate dogs being found frozen solid on porches in Toledo.
Right now, in the midst of an arctic blast that has kept temperatures in the single digits and teens for more than a week, I’m sure I would gladly trade brutal cold for heat — and come the next August hot spell, I’m equally certain I would happily swap terrible heat for cold. But I think Robert Frost had it right in one of his early poems: both heat and cold have their own distinctive destructive powers.
Fire and Ice, by Robert Frost