It’s one thing to read about certain realities – Mongolian winter, say – and quite another to walk in it. Just at the beginning of this blog, before I had actually arrived here, I posted my fifth piece called Daarch Reality. In the piece, I speculated about how I might appear in the midst of such a climate:
“I imagined myself on the blasted steppe, looking like Admiral Byrd as he neared the North Pole, a muffled exclamation struggling through my yak-wool scarf to the edge of my tightly-drawn, fur-lined parka hood: ‘Man! It’s completely friggin’ daarch!’”
Now, in the piece I realized that daarch is the Mongolian word for personal feelings of coldness, while khuiten (rhymes with “sweeten”) expresses atmospheric coldness, so I should have exclaimed, “Man! I’m completely friggin’ daarch!”
Well, let me let out such a yawp right now. About ten steps out of my building this morning whatever had previously been liquid inside my nose froze, as did every other part of my face. Now, the rest of me stayed warm due to hi-tech and/or super-thick duds, but I couldn’t imagine what winter life is like for those in UB’s impoverished outskirts, or elsewhere in the country.
The appearance of the F.I.R.E. staff and volunteers, and their distribution of knitted items from The Dulaan Project (pdf) and other toasty goodies, was quite timely. In the past week, the temps have plunged into the region of genuine daarchitude. Yesterday, our high was 5ºF, while the low was -23ºF. With a stiff breeze. Such things may be tracked, including history back to 1996, on a weather geek’s worst enabler, Weather Underground.
The wonderful Dulaan knitted goods have warmed hands and heads and also hearts. On Monday, my Cuzzin Ryan posted photos I took in Sainshand expressing this. Know a knitter? Send the links and get ‘em clacking double-time for next year’s Dulaan bounty.
Just for illustration, here’s a shot of my courtyard window box I took at about nine this morning. Steam rises from below and instantly freezes on the box’s metalwork. Gives you a shiver, huh?