January 27, 2004

Wintry cold comfort

Bundled in our scarves and hats, we teeter from class to class, from the quads to our homes, literally too wrapped up in ourselves to see each other. Our heads are down, braced against the brutal Chicago winds. Maybe we didn't understand the word windchill until we got to the U of C.

It's easy to feel isolated when the landscape blends from gray to gray, when the bleak sky outside your window each morning warns you of yet more snow to come. Sliding across campus, stepping into the anonymous footprints left by our classmates, we often feel like the only warm thing in this city is our smoky breath that punctuates the otherwise stagnant air around us.

When the sun sets at 5 p.m., it's hard to remember how campus looks in the spring, sprinkled with students and dotted with flowers. But winter needn't be so dreary. The twinkling lights on the quads remind us how romantic and pure a snow-covered city can be. Snowmen stand guard, children—and adults—hurl snowballs at each other, and the frozen puddles reflect the rare moments of blue sky and sunshine.

Chicago winters are rough. University of Chicago winters give rough a new meaning. Winter quarter seems to last forever—January alone feels like the longest month in history. Looking forward to the lone three-day weekend, affectionately titled Suicide Prevention Day, is, if you'll excuse the pun, cold comfort. The next time you see a fellow winter warrior slip on the icy walkways of campus, don't be afraid to chuckle. And don't be afraid to help him up. Winter is tough on everyone, but even a small gesture can warm you up.