Dear Curiosity Journal,
For the second time this week, I received word that the children’s outdoor activity I was to supervise had been canceled due to cold weather. I don’t begrudge anyone for making the call. It’s never an easy decision, and telling a group of kids that their recess or field trip isn’t happening is almost always met with emotional resistance. Both cancellations caught me a bit off guard, however, because it didn’t feel that cold to me, which made me curious about our uncanny animal ability to acclimate. It’s strange how the thermal shock of living in Alaska for six bleak, hyperborean winters makes the Wisconsin season seem mild, even pleasant, and I wonder if I will ever return to a Midwest thermal setting. The very first time I cross-country skied was outside of Fairbanks. It was -40 degrees and all I could think about was that I couldn’t feel my feet, my outdoor gear was not rated for the arctic, and I absolutely should have canceled this deadly outdoor adventure. Today is only -10 degrees, and it turns out I have the day off. Is it too cold to ski? Well, that’s all in your perspective, your degree of acclimation, and the quality of your layers.