0630 hrs to be exact.
I have just stepped out of a house that it has taken the best part of an hour to rinse the cold out of.
Out into minus three degrees celsius.
For someone living in, say, Oymyakon in eastern Yakutia, this would not be particularly noteworthy1 but for me it is plenty cold enough.
Fog has wrapped the world in cataract fuzziness and drizzle falls in angle across the lights. I crack the silence with the squealing hinge of the front gate. As I grab it, the metal cross-bar saps the warmth from my fingers so quickly that they burn. I blow long ectoplasmic breaths into my cupped hands.
The automatic garage door reluctantly chugs open and I pull Thumper carefully out into the dark.
We both scrunch backwards out onto the gravel. A wonderful sound in the early morning.
There, that will do.
Kick stand down. Nudge it into neutral.
She starts without protest.
And as I wait for her to warm I notice how beautiful the light is with the rain and all
and I scurry back into the warm to grab my camera
and run back out and quickly take some shaky pictures that fail to capture it because the moment was already lost in the rushing to grab it
so I take the camera back inside and walk back out completely occupied with my motorcycle jacket trying to engage the zipper insertion pin boll into it’s retainer box as I scrunch out over the gravel
and my flapping cold hands just cant get it to zip.
Then I just stop and look up.
And the moment is back.
I zip my jacket all the way up to my chin. I breathe it all in and pull my helmet over my head.
The rain plops against the plastic.
Gloves slide on.
I tip Thumper off her stand and swing over. And for a moment I sit astride her soak it all in.
How lucky I am.
I find first with a heavy thunk.
Tipping to the left I roll the throttle on and pull out into a hint of dawn.
- In 1924, Russian scientist Sergey Obrychev registered the a temperature of minus 71.2 °C in Oymyakon, a town which regularly flags average low temperatures of minus 22 [↩]