Cold Comfort

Posted: February 11, 2016 in Uncategorized
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By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty

February is abysmal.

It follows, then, that February in Chicago must be even worse; cold convulses the city with a collective case of the shivers.

<> on January 7, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

But anyone can complain about the weather. A creative thinker considers the good that can come of bitter temperatures capable of burning the skin, attacking the eyes, and freezing the nasal passages.

Only one good thing comes from hardship—the determined effort to persevere and protect one another. During winter, Chicagoans band together in ways both practical and profound.

Cold conjures our hibernating kindness:

Bus drivers wait when they see someone hurrying to catch the bus.

People huddle together under warming lamps on CTA platforms, bedecked with colorful scarves and hoods and hats resembling the sturdy pigeons burrowing into their own feathers.


Drop a glove on the train, and someone will kindly pick it up and return it to you, an act of courtesy courageously alive, even in the 21st century.

Small talk comes back to life, curiously reanimated by the cold. We are compelled to confront the severity, offering consolation and encouragement:

Stranger #1,” Lord, it is frigid!”

Stranger #2, “My face is frozen.”

Stranger #3, “It’s just terrible.”

Stranger #1, “But this winter hasn’t been too bad.”

Stranger #2, “No, not really. And a warm up is on the way, too.”

Stranger #3, “Thank goodness.”

Chicago’s charming hometown weather expert Tom Skilling guides us through the season, arming us with more information about winter safety than an arctic explorer would need.


The forecast for Saturday is a low of 1 degree (without considering a considerable wind chill), up to an afternoon high of 13 degrees.

This calls for the good whiskey and a full day indoors, making warm soup and baking sweet cookies, a consoling and comforting plan to weather any cold.

As a bonus, during February in Chicago, no one will ever make fun of your silly hat.


Prepared to tackle the tundra!

  1. Blake says:

    I can agree with this since I came up here from Florida I have noticed that in the winter there is a type of connection that only harsh weather can bring

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