Thursday, December 10, 2009

After having a nice November and fairly decent beginning to December, winter finally arrived this week with a foot of snow and sub-zero temperatures as I have been reporting.

It is driving the cats crazy. Cassidy likes to be outside prowling and hunting. Now she finds herself confined to the house for most of the day, scurrying back in after each foray into the outer cold. She has settled for hunting her sister and chasing toys around, or, in a pinch, following one of us and demanding attention.

Sundance is more of an indoor cat, but she too is perplexed. She looks outside and it is bright and sunny. So she trots out only to discover it is barely above zero, and she runs to the deck door to look pathetic and be let back in. I can just see in her eyes that she can't understand why it is sunny and cold. She lies in the sun and it is warm. What's up with this cold thing?

It reminds me of being in school in 1984 with students from the Philippines and from Africa. They too were surprised that winter days in St. Louis could be bitter cold when the sky was clear and the sun bright. Some of them came from areas where there were two seasons -- dry and rainy. The rainy season and its overcast days brought cooler temperatures. The sun had always meant warmth. To discover a place where this was reversed was unsettling.

Reminds me of the struggle people have with anything -- or anyone -- that they are not used to. To expect them to accept easily a situation where what is familiar is not always and everywhere the norm is like expecting people from Nairobi not to connect sunshine with warmth. It is not a bias. It is just the way it is. Sun = warm; cloudy = cool. Or so we may think.

We all tend to assume that the way it is where we come from -- whatever that means -- is just the way it is everywhere, and therefore obviously the way God means it to be.

Guess not. Ask Sundance. She just came into my room and hopped up on my bed -- where the patch of sunlight is doing what it is supposed to do: provide warmth.

Cats may not be able to learn. People can, if we try.

No comments: