Saturday, October 13, 2012


The water in the creek was frigid. I thought back to the film of frost I'd seen on the front window of our Honda Fit that morning. Perfect weather for conducting a stream study.

"Shit, Shit, Shit, Holy Shit it's cold!" Tim stuck his hand down the pant leg of his waders. They were too tall for his stocky frame and the green gortex bunched up around him. It made him look even more gnome-like than usual. "There's a leak in the right boot! I think that water's coming up to my knee on this side. Shit, it's colder than the ice tub."

I couldn't help but laugh at the contortion of his face. My waders had holes in both boots, not just one. I may as well have been barefoot for how much water I was feeling. Actually barefoot would have been better, because the water that leaked in sloshed in my boots even when I got out on land. I was permanently submerged. All I can say is the environmental department at school runs a tight budget. And I just wished more than anything in the world I'd remembered to pack extra socks.

"Alright, let's do this guys" Catie said.

One could after all, only pity themselves for so long before moving on, gritting their teeth and accepting the cold. We set our nets in the water, kicked and counted microorganisms and measured depths.

The worst part was coming out. In the water our feet had mostly numbed. Walking back up to shore I felt off balance, because I couldn't feel below my knee and as my blood began circulating again, my nerves began to scream.

Meg was hopping up and down to try to thaw out, Kathrine massaged her toes and I peeled off my socks with distaste. A change of pants would be really nice too.

Being so cold makes a person feel so alive. Pain makes you vividly and sharply aware in a way that you can't be in leisurely comfort. And in a bizarre way want the permafrost on my toes. The soreness in my muscles, the bursting of my lungs and the dizzying feeling of losing oxygen.

I tried telling April about this in art class 6th period. By then the coldness from our morning's excursion had settled into my bones, I had made a home for it there. She told me that I'm a masochist. I guess I get that a lot. But I'm okay with it.

 It's probably true.

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