There's just something about cold mornings which really appeals to me. In that way, I'm perfectly suited to life here in Canberra.
This morning, when I got out of bed at 7.00, it was a heady -3.5 degrees outside, and the view through the kitchen window was of a world rimed with white. The frost was so heavily settled that for a moment or two I actually thought it might have snowed during the evening: the roof of the house across the road was coated with a thin skin of darkly glimmering ice. In the vegie garden, our sage bush glistened silver. Out beside the BBQ, the black oven mitt which I'd accidentally left out there last night while retrieving our dinner from the Weber was frozen firmly onto the glass top of our patio table, and cocooned with frost.
Stepping out into the dawn, still dressed in my flannel PJ's and a dressing gown, the cold seared the back of my mouth and my breath clouded and hung, motionless around my head forseveral seconds. Even through my heavy-soled ugg boots, I fancied I could feel the cold radiating upwards from the ground. Not a bird called, not a soul moved, the sun was hidden behind the wreathing fog. Yesterday's washing hung stiff and solid on the clothesline - cardboard t shirts and rigid the towels that we'd used to wash the dog on the weekend.
On these mornings, you feel the cold as though from outside yourself; beyond your senses. It's more than just the numbing of skin and the prickling of tiny hairs. On these mornings, the cold is a light blanket; enfolding, embracing; it doesn't flow through you so much as wrap itself around you and settle over your whole self.
On these mornings the cold brings with it an odd, almost indefinable sense of tranquility; as through the world has stopped, paused for thought, just ceased - momentarily - to function, perhaps in contemplation of the day and week ahead.
Back in the kitchen the coffee machine hisses, the heater thrums warm air into the room, Radio National chatters softly in the corner, and from his bedroom I can hear Toby starting to stir. I sip my coffee - the heat of it ticklish in my still chilled mouth - and allow the thawing of it to creep through me.
I really like cold mornings.