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The poet John Keats wrote:
“St. Agnes' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.”
It was around 6 p.m. yesterday when I entered a little Fish store located on Church Avenue in Brooklyn. The only people there were the ones who were selling or cleaning fish. I did not have to ask why. The brutal cold had sent many people scampering to their homes. The man who usually stood in front the store to beg for money had disappeared to another more warm and comfortable spot. The streets and sidewalks were not lined with the usual number of cars or people. I was reminded of a popular Grenadian saying, “Everyone took high woods.” Mother Nature was not smiling.
I went to buy fish because somewhere in my mind, the thought persisted that an effective way to combat the hostile weather was to indulge in a hot steaming bowl of Caribbean style fish broth. Chicken soup helps too, but I opted for the fish broth.
The debate regarding the changing global weather pattern will continue. People will wonder why we experience upper fifties Fahrenheit temperatures in NYC last Monday morning and then rapidly plunging temperatures the same night. They will wonder why out of nowhere a storm erupted last Christmas eve when the hurricane season was “over” and disrupted the lives of the people of Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent mostly. They will wonder why the hurricane forecasters predicted a busy 2013 hurricane season and that never materialized. They will wonder why the strangeness is global. They will wonder what is coming next.
Meanwhile, those who sell merchandise in stores do not have to wonder where the customers disappeared to when the wind howls and ice pave the sidewalks on a sub-freezing wintry afternoon. Some of them are sitting in their houses looking at steam that rises from fish broth.
Anthony Wendell DeRiggs
Amen and Praise the Lord, for Brother DeRiggs scampering efforts to purchase his fish for his broth at the local shop (praise the Lord the shop was not too far from his home!!), and being a very brave 'soldier'(remember Kipling, if you can keep your head...) and not taking to the high woods, in this 'super minus' freezing weather. I enjoy the Keat's quote....
Reading the online USA/Canada ‘artic’ start to the winter season, what comes to mind? This is what came to my mind, when I read about negative temperatures readings, with one post author stating …. Maryland, -12 wind speed. I saw an online clip of a town call Hell in Michigan, where the snow plough on its way to rescue folks fell prey to the severe weather!!
When I was a pupil at junior school, the teacher mentioned, that liquid water at 0 or below will become ice - (Meant nothing to me a tropical, bright little girl, as the warm, humid island breeze blew into the ‘I can hear a pin drop’ classroom open windows, with the tall coconut trees in the distance swaying, and - ice was only seen in our jug of our Sunday lime juice!
- as I cast my eyes away from the blackboard with its lengthy long division sum in progress, to gaze on the aqua blue Caribbean sea with a whiter than white yacht cruising along. I was more interested in how the ‘boat’ remained afloat on the water, (got the strap for that – as when asked to continue the workings, I took a few minutes (my intermittent duration was too long for the deputy Headteacher) to work out what the previous pupil did during the never ending long division sum calculation! – with the tears zooming out of my eyes at nearly boiling point!!!)
Later on, much later in a hands-on European mathematics lesson – algebra graph functions, I remember after calculating the plotting data, some of the figures for both x and y axis were negative, I liked graph plotting and plotted my graph to perfection, taking account of extending the straight line for extrapolation purposes – this to me was just a graph plotting activity for examination purposes only, no connection was made with these negative figures outside of mathematics, but I do think I remember a teacher saying something about ‘inside of the freezer’. Now, I can understand why the educators, want connections to me made outside of the subject area, so I suppose the teacher should have informed the class that some countries at times experience minus degrees temperatures. However, I thank God for my lovely teachers who taught me with strict corrective measures of discipline, mixed in with tinges of community love, high regard for each pupil, tenderness, gentleness and great patience.
Just taking a small synopsis snapshot, of Brother DeRiggs post which make references to sudden global meteorological changes, as we may know, God is a God of 'sudden plummeting/escalating' changes too, he takes people from little known to well known; he turns gentle streams into raging rivers! And now I see those born in say 30 degrees Celsius tropical heat, trying to cope with ‘super sub zero' temperatures! - those who once looked forward or pined for, or even paid for having some ice chunks in their jug of lime juice now faced with ice/snow storms! May God help us all!
May the Good All-knowing Lord give all USA forum post authors, and our extended global community, complete rest on every side as 2014 gets underway. Keep warm and do not forget that ginger tea with a little brown sugar! And your cornmeal porridge! and some peppermints - and most importantly, Study your Head! – for an enhancement and advancement of your severe weather coping skills - now I understand why my Grandmother use to dry the peel of the lime/orange, leave it hanging up in the kitchen to make tea during heavy raining no gardening days!
Will keep you all in my prayers, remembering that we are all in the Hands of our Maker. And Finally, Brother DeWiggs take care if venturing out to get some ginger!! Keep Warm and brave!