At LitHub, Marissa Weiss explores life in Alaska: The cold, the dark, the ice, the 3,000 miles between her and her parents in Maryland. Despite the many hardships, she’s lived there for 15 years and can’t imagine leaving a place where cold is no longer a four-letter-word.
Even so, the benefits of the cold can be hard to remember in the face of ice cleats, May snowstorms and frozen pipes. Not to mention our cultural bias against the cold. There’s no comfort in cold comfort, no welcoming from a cold shoulder. A killer is made even worse by being cold-blooded, an enemy by being cold-hearted. There is nothing cathartic or healthful about breaking a cold sweat, and a cold fish is not attractive as entrée or lover.
In spite of it all, being cold makes me feel alive. I’m not sure who I would be if I moved back to the comfortable life — if I swapped rubber boots that are always getting mucky for sleek sandals that knew only pavement. How would I fill all of the hours I now spend with my children, dressing and undressing them? Whom would I relate to if I could no longer commiserate with those around me about the cold?