First Five Fragments for Friday – Deep Freeze Edition

Your weekly offering of writing/art prompts.

1. You wake up to the sound of a Public Radio weather report that says the windchill is -20. Your first thought is….

2. About gathering images for writing: This morning, a huge crow was fluffed up and perched on the power line that runs across the back of my yard. We stared at each other for several moments before he (she?) turned his head and effortlessly flew into the neighbor’s evergreens. Another crow followed, calling in what I am sure is a complete language. This is why I look out the window for a few minutes in the morning before I turn on a television, read the paper, talk.

3. When the actual air temperature is below zero, everything outside sounds different: the peculiar squeak-crunch of packed snow underfoot or under-tire, airplanes slicing through the atmosphere overhead, the reluctance of a door hinge, the timbre of birds’ calls.

4. Ice – so unassuming in an ice cube tray, so lethal in sheets on the highway. What else has such an ability to switch between useful and deadly?

5. And the funniest, albeit controversial, holiday commercial so far this year is the Kmart commercial with men in boxers. Does this make you want to shop there? Or does it make you want to write a response?

Happy cold Friday. And R.I.P. Nelson Mandela; you did a lot of good in the world.

Photo by KCMickelson, 2013.


  1. What else has such an ability to switch between useful and deadly?

    Nearly everything ever invented or discovered Kath! The wheel for instance — cart or gun? Gas — cook or commit suicide? Painkillers — relieve pain or poison? Botox — deadliest poison known to mankind (or just about…) Everything has a flip side — Don't mess with me today 😉


  2. On days like this, I am thankful I can cozy up inside my home office and write. But tomorrow my husband and I are signed up for a two-hour shift of bell ringing for the Salvation Army. I'll be digging out my warmest outdoor attire later today.


  3. Fire switches between useful and deadly with the same speed as ice. And water more generally.
    Here as our temperatures rise (and rise) I am more than a little envious of your winter chills. Even the ice. And yes, RIP Nelson Mandela. An inspirational man. And I am very glad he can finally rest.


  4. # 1 – It must be winter in Wyoming. At least it's not -40. Yet.

    I think the crows are plotting. You'd better be careful. Or at least put out a chicken leg for them to gnaw on – appeasing the spirits and all that….

    I like your blue jay pic. I miss seeing blue jays, not many here unless you go into the mountains, and then there's Steller's Jays. I support the local sparrow, finch, and chickadee population. If I'm lucky I get a cardinal or downy woodpecker at my feeders. Never when I have my camera, though.


  5. -40 windchill, right? Not actual air temp?
    I gave the crows the leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving. They hung out until every bit had been consumed. We have the pact, the crows and I. And when they're not around, we have several feeders that provide a smorgasbord for everyone else!


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