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Out in the Cold – but just a taste

Thanksgiving weekend this year was  perhaps the nicest ever – weather was perfect, leaves at their prime and the roads dry and clear of traffic – at least where we were.  Three days of back to back beauty!

Our family tradition is to have Thanksgiving at a ‘hunt camp’ on a private pristine lake in Quebec.  Somewhat ‘rustic’ but worth the cost by anyone’s standards!  Imagine with me for a moment: no sounds except the wind in the pines, the call of the loon and the calm of the lake mirroring the emblazoned hues of the maples of the mountain.  Truly amazing.

Seventeen people for an overnight at a camp that comfortable sleeps 14 – so we brought our tent trailer and set it up.  I left the bonfire a little earlier than the others and snuggled down under four layers of bedding: a blanket, a quilt, a wool ‘Kenwood’ blanket, and a down sleeping bag over top.

It wasn’t really even cold, relatively speaking, certainly not below nine or ten degrees, but I was uncomfortably cold.  It just didn’t work for me, and I spent some time thinking about the cold and my plight.  One consolation: the dawn was comin’.

I thought about my friends who sleep outside, not only at Thanksgiving time, but in the midst of the coldest blasts of winter.  If I was cold  under the protection of the tent trailer and with several layers of dry bedding in tepid temperatures – I just could not imagine what it is to sleep outside with maybe a sleeping bag.

What if we didn’t have any choices about where we would sleep – for whatever reason?  What if we had to ‘make do’ alone in the elements?  What would that be like?

Here’s an experiment: take some time outside with clothing appropriate to our current weather, and force yourself to stay outside on the deck or back yard for two or three hours.  You can’t go inside to get warm, can’t have coffee or hot chocolate on hand, and you can’t add any more clothing as the time goes on. 

Then think: people on the street can’t go inside when they’ve ‘reached the limit’.

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