If anyone else is still shellshocked from the fact that the campus was closed for TWO days the week of Monday, January 28, rest assured you are not alone. For a little over 24 hours, Chicago faced cold that put both the surfaces of Antarctica and Mars to shame. While I did brave the cold to take pictures outside showing my body slowly freeze to death, the blisters that formed on my ears and toes were clear signs that I was messing with something that was never meant to be messed with by any living soul.
With this sort of extreme cold, I am left asking myself several questions which I am sure many of you do ask but never bother to figure out for whatever reason. I do not know why a simple Google search is too much of an investment, but nothing is ever off the table in this day and age. Going back to the questions, one that always fascinates me regards the location of the fauna that usually lives year round by the shores of Lake Michigan, such as the birds and rodents. Where do they go when the weather gets this bad? I get that hibernation and migration are two valid answers to this, but they seem too simple of explanations in this case. They might have been solutions in normal Chicago winters, but that was not the case this year.
I am expecting the insect and overall presence of wildlife in Chicago to be minimal come springtime, as they will definitely need time to recuperate their populations after such losses from this arctic flash freeze. Having experiencing the cold first hand, I cannot see how any animal can stay put and survive outside unless they are a penguin or some other kind of animal coated with thick layers of blubber. Now, while I do look forward to a graduation with few noisy cicadas in the background, I can only hope that I will be one of the few mammals in Chicago who survives this winter to see the return of warmer weather.