Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Okay, what's going on here? The thermometer reads fifteen-below this morning, and we haven't even reached the winter solstice. Ruckus spent a total of ten seconds outside this morning, and the poodle still declines to consider the outdoors. Only Paul has headed into the cold, lustily singing, "Livin' on a Prayer," as if a Bon Jovi song has ever helped anyone at any time. Anyway, that band's from New Jersey: what do they know about waiting for the schoolbus at fifteen-below?
The threat of freezing to death in the ancient world permeated ancient thought. It was a giant concern, so the mythmakers made the deities who personified cold giants themselves. Throughout the cold months, these winter giants waged war against the summer and won battle after battle. They lived in the frigid north and they cast icy death spells on victims struggling to recapture the warmth of summer and to protect the fields from the giants' death grip. The Norsemen believed that a plumed giant named Hraesvlegr sat at the extreme north of the heavens and raised his arms to send icy north winds over the earth. Some North American tribes envisioned the winter giant as an old man with a beard of icicles who also lived in the north, in a teepee on a snowy mountaintop. When people visited him and smoked a pipe with him in his teepee, the Winter Giant cast his freezing spell on his visitor and froze him to death. 
[from Dictionary of Nature Myths: Legends of the Earth, Sea, and Sky by Tamra Andrews]

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