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January 4, 2012: Temperature

I used to be a qualitative kind of gal—most of what I thought or felt was on a more intuitive level. That good old right brain worked overtime, earning high praise from my more lethargic left half. “Keep at it,” the left side of my brain said, adding, “You’re doing a really, really good job. And if you keep at it, you’ll be put on the payroll.” The right side of my brain took in the praise, but was not phased about earning a wage. After all this is what being right brained is all about.

As of late, the left brain has been stepping in and strutting its stuff. This, in the great scope of things, has been minimal. I am not, and never will be an

Thermometer on back porch
Thermometer on back porch

Einstein. When I see (for example) mathematical calculations on a board, I see art—not symbols of higher abstract thinking but squiggles and lines. I saw what was before me as a display on an art gallery wall, and consequently wrote fish, birds, plant life to the side of the equations.

Left brain’s decision, to take minimal charge, came with the purchase of a thermometer, which Pete nailed onto the side of our combination tack room, greenhouse, outhouse, garbage shed. Last January, I got into the routine of checking this thermometer, first in the mornings, before tending to the horses, then in the evenings, before tending to them again. When I started taking note of the temperature at midday, I realized that I’d become temperature obsessed.

I had plenty of time (after my check) to make the connection between the temperature and the degree of heat and cold, as was evidenced by my degree of comfort. I’d never before given the matter any thought, but I eventually concluded that in the winter, barring the unforeseen such as wind, snow, or rain, that my comfort zone was adversely affected when the temperature dropped below zero. I then felt the cold in my fingers and nose. And I could not take off my gloves, which is something I do often. Otherwise, I lose much-needed fine finger coordination. Zero was okay, ten degrees even better. Twenty degrees was, in time, balmy. Thirty degrees was a cause for celebration. Forty degrees meant that spring was on the way. Fifty degrees indicated that it was time to remove the long underwear. Sixty degrees and above, now we were talking. Pete says that on Daniel Fahrenheit’s thermometer, zero and 100 degrees are those points where people feel the temperature become uncomfortable—too cold or too hot.

I’ve always been able to keep my obsessions in check, mainly by keeping my thoughts about such things to myself. Otherwise, one gets put on drugs by well-meaning psychiatrists. Then too, one must go through therapy, which is time consuming. I know this, because I’ve read it in books. (Reading is yet another obsession.) And I will continue to keep my obsessions in check. After all, a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do. It’s called getting by. I one day climbed onto a snow berm that was blocking the thermometer, so that I could determine the temperature. The snow was soft, and so I fell into it. Waste deep, there I was, peering at the shed wall. My glasses were fogged, so I had to remove them. I noted that it was minus eight degrees. This, after I extracted myself, was a cause for celebration since it had risen two degrees in the past twenty-four hours.

I’m now a temperature junky. And in the past few months I’ve gotten junkier. This is because Pete, who is more left brained than right, nailed a thermometer right outside the kitchen addition door. It’s on a post. Now the temperature check is easier than previously. Six, seven, eight times a day, I’m onto it.

Like most junkies, I can rationalize my behavior. I have animals to care for, and they live outside. The colder it is, the more likely it is that their water will freeze. If it gets to minus twenty, the horses and goats will need to be blanketed, and I’ll have to bring the chickens inside. I don’t ride the horses when it’s below zero, which is why I’ve been keeping a careful eye on the mercury.

This, temperature watching, is all for the good. I now know that it does get warmer around noon, and then colder around 3 p.m. Huh. I could not have told you this a year ago. I just thought, hmm, colder, warmer. What gives? I now dress in accordance with the temperature. For instance, I put on my mukluks when it’s below zero. And I switch to my other boots when it’s above zero.

Yes, I know that there are many more variables involved when considering the above. Like wind chill, and barometric pressure, and humidity. I learned this in the only class I ever failed, which was meteorology. Actually, the teacher went over these things on the first day. From the second day on, I was hopelessly lost. Actually, I was able to salvage what I considered to be wasted time, by writing a paper for an English class entitled “Cloud Imagery in T.S. Eliot’s Poetry.” I got an A on that one.

My left brain has encouraged me to delve deeper. And my right brain has indicated to me that I should ignore all this, and (if I must) just pay attention to the temperature. I could, it has suggested, get some more thermometers, and have Pete nail them outside all the cabin windows, this including the one right outside the bedroom window, next to my writing desk. I’ve decided to go with what my beloved right brain says to do. It has never failed in the past, and probably won’t fail me in the future.

By the way, it’s now minus seven. I just got up and checked.

Next: 30. 12/5/11: Peaches and the forth Dimension