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Forty-seven degrees below zero

  I never even wore a down jacket until I went to college. Even though I was born in a place where the lowest temperature ever reached -50 degrees.
   My first down jacket was a birthday gift from my sister in my junior year of college, date red, knee-high, and a fluffy rabbit fur collar, even though it looked like a layered cake when I put it on, but because it was the first time I wore it, I still felt so elegant.
   I’ve been asked the same question by countless people since then, saying that it’s so cold there, what do you have to wear in winter?
   What to wear? I scratched my head, but never wore a down jacket. When I was a child, I wore a cotton jacket and pants, some of which I wove at home. It seems that at that time, there were few mothers who did not know how to make cotton clothes, so I went to a garment store to save some time, and sent thick cotton and fabric over, and a soft ruler to measure the size, and in a few days, I went to pick it up, and a brand new cotton jacket came out of the oven, warm and warm, thick and square. Wear a two or three years, some parts of the cotton wear thin, flattened, disassembled and re-expanded, and then layer by layer filled with new cotton, to make a new cover, and can wear a few years.
   What I can’t understand is the straps cotton pants this kind of damn thing, the front attached to a small bib, the back waist sewing two straps, crossed in the back a little around the shoulders, with a buckle fixed in the bib above the buttonhole. We do not know whether this design is to keep the stomach warm, or afraid to walk around with the pants will fall off? Or just a purely fashionable fashion?
   Whatever the reason, for elementary school students, backpack cotton pants is simply a kind of anti-human thing, especially when going to the bathroom between classes. There are only ten minutes between classes, so if you accidentally hold a bubble of urine, once the bell rings, you have to jump up from your seat and rush out of the classroom, like a gourd, three steps down the four-story building, dashing past a group of small carrot heads rushing to the school’s public toilets, and quickly grab a pit, while being careful not to go too fast, otherwise it is likely to lose your footing, in case the pit from both sides of the ice a foot Slip in, the consequences are really unimaginable.
   Then, to resist the eyes of the children waiting for a place in front of you, hands and feet to unbutton the outer cover of the cotton jacket, unbutton the cotton jacket, shiver to put cold hands into the sweater, unbutton the bib, to pull out the strap from the back to loosen, in order to finally take off the cotton pants. The worst thing is that the buttonholes on the back strap are often very tight, the more anxious you are, the harder it is to untie, but by this time, it is basically unbearable to pee ……
   Are there any children who peed their pants because they failed to untie the straps in time? The first thing you need to do is to get a good idea of what you’re doing. Later, chatting with a friend in Gansu, I found out that the people of the northwest also wore these backpack cotton pants when they were young, coincidentally, this friend was a victim of the cotton pants to wet their pants, but it is really a sad story ah.
   When you go to junior high school, you start to justifiably reject the big cotton jacket two cotton pants, people are middle school students ah! They do not want to lose face? What do you look like when you’re dressed like a gibberish cotton bag? So even if it is nine winters, a thick tweed coat plus a thick wool pants can also openly cope with, if not windy, but also arrogantly open the jacket, thick wool white scarf with the red sweater inside, resolutely “to windy not temperature” spirit to the end, walk up to feel their own BGM.
   Of course, this arrogance is limited to a short period of time when the sun shines. The winter in the Daxinganling, four or five o’clock on the dark sky, when the night quickly engulfed the town, the cold air from all sides of the rise out of the depths of the earth covered with snow and ice, from the treetops of the snow rustling down between the silent forest, from almost a frozen to the end of the Belz River vast ice, all the corners, all the crevices, are not moving to release the bone-chilling cold. The huge, dark sky sinks down, the moon looks touching will be ice hands, even the light of the Milky Way is cold, will be completely sealed this town in the forest.
   There were no clouds in the sky, no wind on the ground, no people in the streets, and an icy fog filled the air without a sound.
   My classmates and I finished our English tutorials and set out for home at 9:00 pm. The long streets were silent and empty in the white smoke, and we pedaled our bicycles with great effort, carefully avoiding the large ice packs that had gradually formed on the street from the dumping of waste water, for fear of slipping out of the way if we were not careful. I once rolled my bike onto the slope of a large ice pack in broad daylight, in full view of everyone, and fell on all fours in the street. The loud sound of my bike colliding with the ice and my wails resonated through the streets and alleys, a real human tragedy.
   It was cold, really cold, except for the cold, there was nothing in my head. We struggled to pedal while laughing loudly, as if this would dispel some of the cold. However, this little trick was soon put to an end by my friend Shapi Dog, who suddenly cried out in anger and pain, bounced up from his car seat like an electric shock, and was hit by an arrow again and bounced down to the ground.
   We have to get out of the car, only to see this brother covering his ears full of frustration, said: my ears are frozen ……
   Frozen ear is a momentary thing, in that moment, the low temperature kills your blood and flesh at once. The pain sharply passes from the frozen part, hurts pain pain, hurts so much that you almost don’t dare to touch it, the temperature of your palm to cover it has not helped, you can only wait for the sharp pain to slowly calm down. In the following days, that piece of skin will be hot, itchy, from pale to red, and then gradually become black, hard, and finally become completely lifeless dead skin, layer by layer, until the birth of new skin is over. Anyway, the extremely cold weather will come every year, the next winter will be a little careless or repeat. Especially frozen places to be more susceptible to frostbite, freeze ah freeze also get used to.
   Frozen ears are simply the standard in winter. In that winter, whose ears have not frozen? Not only the ears can be frozen, toes and fingers can be frozen, simply everything can be frozen. I even froze my nose, so I spent half the winter with a blackened nose tip. My mother was even more desperate, she actually froze her face, and I don’t know if it was because of her skin type, but the blackness on her cheekbones that made her so angry, probably faded away only in the spring.
   I’m ashamed to say that many years after I left home, once went to Harbin’s Ice World to see the ice lantern, but the temperature of minus 20 degrees, actually froze the big toe, it was a shame! You know, minus 20 degrees, according to my family’s habit is to be called “warm days”, really degraded.
   About the cold, about the extreme cold weather of minus 40 degrees, so it is, in fact, not as terrible and difficult as outsiders think. I was born and raised there, and only after working did I slow down the pace of going home. I’ve been away too long to describe exactly what it’s like to be out in that kind of weather, but what does it matter? What difference does it make if it’s 47 degrees below zero, 48 degrees below zero or even drops below 50 degrees below zero? It doesn’t matter if it’s colder, what matters is that I’ve seen my friends at home time and time again show the continuous record-breaking ????? When it’s low, those numbers are reminding me that I’m from a place like that, and in addition to the feeling of cold, I have too many blazing memories tied to that seemingly frightening temperature.
   I went to the snowy fields to run around with joy, and when I got home, I knocked out the snow in my cotton shoes as hard as I could, and my ice-like feet stuck to the fire wall with a little pain to regain consciousness.
   The favorite begonia fruit sugar gourd, after licking the hard candy coating thin, teeth in the harder than stone fruit gnawed white marks, the tip of the tongue passed over the trace of sour and sweet.
   After a heavy snowfall, dozens of people worked together to push out a huge snowball on the playground, and the laughter of skating children echoed on the empty ice surface of the Belz River.
   The long, long outward skating on the sidewalks of the streets, which I had played intently in my dreams, with the sound of the wind whistling in my ears, could have skated to the end of the world.
   Teenagers whizzing by on bicycles, handsome army green coats, soft rabbit fur thunderbolt hats, leaving hot backs in the snow.
   Why do I write about the cold? Because this temperature is a part of me, a part of my life, an inseparable and irreplaceable part of what makes up my entire life.
   The most terrible thing about forgetting without moving is that it is like gradually drying up in the silent years, when you suddenly realize that you have forgotten something, but you can no longer think of what you have forgotten. So, a part of your body, a part of your life, just fades and drains away forever, and then, you lose yourself.

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