You wouldn’t have guessed it based on the previous month’s temperatures, but today is the first day of winter. According to Weather Underground, the month’s mean temperature is a balmy -25 degrees C (-13 F).

December Temperature

December Temperature

But numbers mean little when you can’t see them through your frozen eyelashes.

Frozen Eyelashes on a Ski Lift

Frozen Eyelashes on a Ski Lift

In honor of the Winter Solstice and the reality that is finally sinking in, I’d like to share a Mongolian saying I just heard last night. It’s called “The Nines of Winter” and divides the upcoming chilly 81 days into nine sets of nine days.

The First Nine: Milk vodka congeals and freezes
The Second Nine: Vodka congeals and freezes
The Third Nine: Tail of a three-year-old ox freezes
The Fourth Nine: Horns of a four-year-old ox freezes
The Fifth Nine: Boiled rice no longer congeals and freezes
The Sixth Nine: Roads become visible from under the snow and ice
The Seventh Nine: Hilltops appear
The Eighth Nine:  Ground becomes damp
The Ninth Nine: Warmer days set in

So, there you have it. Maybe it’s time to get that extra pair of long johns I’ve had my eye on.

2 thoughts on “The Nines of Winter

  1. You’ve got a new fashion statement going with those frosty eyelashes! Everyone in New york will want them. I too would go for the extra long underwear. -25, calls for inside scrabble games, hot tea and as close to the fire as one can get. Lauren these photo’s are amazing and the expansiveness of the land, the music, the beauty of the people is so inspiring. You GO Girl and stay WARM. love you lots!!! Mary

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