Portland is cold right now, frigid. For Portland, that means around freezing. It rarely gets to the killing cold here that dries and scorches the flesh. 32 Fahrenheit is cold. 20 Fahrenheit is incredibly cold. 0 Fahrenheit is unbelievably, terrifyingly cold. A half inch of snow closes schools. An inch of snow closes many businesses. Six inches of snow, the few times I can recall such a thing happening, turns the city into a half-dead wonderland.

I am a sick person, when it comes down to it. It was cold enough today that I wore a sweater over my shirt; it was even so cold that I wore a jacket over that sweater, when I went outside. Except for a little while ago, where I took off the jacket and the sweater, and went and laid out on the grass, and closed my eyes and felt the cold seep into my bones, and thought about what it would be like to accept the cold and be the cold and die of the cold. It is 2:15 AM, I am 28 years old, and I feel as close to the grave as I have ever been.

I went inside and washed my limbs with cold water, then warm, then hot; I drank some warm lemon water; I drank a few fingers of bourbon. It is 2:15 AM, I am 28 years old, and I feel as alive now as I have in many years.