December 07, 2002

A Day Almost Winter

Journal: Friday 06 December 02
Brrr! This snow is unusual in being so early and so cold! First thing after putting on every piece of clothing that still allows for crude movement, I must go straight out into the very cold very dark, bring in kindling, and do all the winter voodoo that gets to be a comfortable routine. In the summer, I miss it, but not entirely in a bad way. Makes me remember a post about "things I like about summer". I went back and read it, and chuckled, here from the opening scenes of the world in white.

Today was a long day, in a good way. It was a gift, a thing not expected. Ann was able to safely travel home over seriously bad roads in the trusty Suburu after 36 hours at work. She had a hospital room to herself and slept no more poorly than she does at home. With all this overtime, she earned Friday off, the first day of a long weekend. That alone is rare, and will be enough time for her to at least partially clear the work toxins. She likes her work, but the life-and-death decisions she makes every day take their toll. Hopefully, the decisions for the next three days will consist of such as 'raisins or dates' in the cookies?

Wifey was home to share the nail biting as I listened to my adenoidal voice in the radio essay this morning. It survived the flash-editing better than I had expected, and I was okay with how it turned out. I was crushed that, even though it was the last thing I said before I left the studio on Tuesday: be sure and add the same bio as last time (where they mentioned Fragments from Floyd) was not included. Consequently I got none of the Virginia visits that came from the first piece I read back in late October. Sigh. Once again, Fred, remember you're doing this silliness for its own sake. You alone are the benefactor and the recipient of any worth in the words you produce. An army of one.

The making of America's most hated holiday confection began a few days ago by the soaking of all that sticky-sweet clarified fruitoid substance in Virginia Gentleman. This morning, we had the traditional pre-baking snort of the stuff. I know that most people prefer to use gifts of Christmas fruitcakes as doorstops and such. I suggest that the potency of this one might render it efficacious for snake bite. Good stuff! We sampled it after it came out of the oven. Most is now wrapped in bourbon-soaked gaily-colored cloth in preparation for shipping to friends and family in need of doorstops. It is rumoured that there is only one fruitcake in the whole US, and it is passed from one ungrateful recipient to the next. I can vouch for the fact that there are at least three... less two small slivers.

While Ann mixed and snorted the fruitcake, I worked a bit with a song from the Sugar Hill album "Sugar Plums". Ann especially likes Doc Watson singing "Christmas Lullaby". The cords are easy, and it is a haunting tune, probably an old traditional Irish ballad. I couldn't quite make out one line of the lyrics. By way of the amazing resource of the internet, I found the words. And not just the three short verses Doc sings, but the whole original hymn written more than three hundred years ago by Isaac Watts. I think I may post the lyrics later; I don't think Mr. Watts would care. She wants me to sing it at the church Christmas service where they are soliciting anyone who wants to read, sing, et cetera. I think we'll keep this a chorus of one, for home consumption only, thank you.

We may not get another major snow (our 8" here is a big one by recent standards). So, I wanted to get a few more pictures of the house from the steep hillside behind the house. The snow was still very crusty, and the dog had to stay behind because, between his joints still a bit painful from the recent illness and the abrading of the ice on his paw pads, this particular walk would do him more harm than good. It was tough going for us humans too, but we made the loop, and I came back with some marginal images. Saw signs of what may have been a coyote tracking a small deer. The visible presence of wildlife by their tracks is one of the best things about snow!

How life never ceases to surprise me. I got a call today related to my former profession, making me an offer I can refuse. However, I will play this fish and see if I can recreate the position they are offering and end up with both of us happy with what is being sold by me and purchased by them. Nah. Probably not. But opportunity has come knocking, and I am peeping through the door-port looking at these unknown ones through the fish-eye lens. Hey, here's a Gary Larsen cartoon: First frame shows man peeking out his door peephole, seeing a frumpy man in a hat and his little wife in a polkadot dress, with the pointy glasses, string of pearls, clutching a handbag. They appear distored through the peephole, with big heads tapering down to little tiny feet. "We're your new neighbors, the Hendersons". The guy opens the door to meet the people. There they are: great big heads, little tiny feet... just the way they looked through the fish-eye. Gee. I hope these PT people are at least normal.

The town of Floyd was having its "Dickens of a Night" thing last night. All the merchants are open, have hot cider, freebies, music. People wander around the streets (one intersection where THE traffic light is) visiting the stores and generally mingling and Dickensonian characters in period dress are caroling and generally merry-making. We made the decision that it would not be safe to travel there because of the back roads. A logical decision. Ann, in typical fashion, got caught squarely between damned if we do and damned if we don't, and pouted for a while because we didn't go. She is her own worst enemy sometimes, I swear.

I agreed to keep the TV off (even though there was a James Bond movie I would have allowed myself to beam into) and no blogging. Missing out on the socializing in town, Ann wanted to 'do those things we talk about but never do'. That could take in a lot of territory for sure. We decided that I would read her something from 'my world' of late that meant something to me. So, we pulled up in front of the woodstove, and I read excerpts from a powerfully-written essay by David James Duncan in Orion Magazine called "Improvisations in the Key of Cosmology". This was especially meaningful to me, resurrecting my thinking from long ago, struggling with the knowledge of Science versus the knowledge of the spirit. Duncan does an excellent job of explaining why it is essential for the science of today to incorporate the language of the spirit, of poetry, and of wonder. The world is becoming a stranger, more beautiful place than we had imagined, and those who understand the ineffible nature of nature, prophets and sages in ages past, may know more about ultimate reality than we have given credit for.

Other than the mailman, not a car came down our road all day. It was as if there was a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door to our private resort, a day just for us. Just before bedtime, we put on layer after layer of winter skin one last time and walked down the road under the Pleaides. The dog went with us. We walked in starlight alone in a world made new and full of wonder by this strange white blanket of crystal down. It silently wraps our valley in a peace that passes understanding.

Posted by fred1st at December 7, 2002 07:07 AM

Hope you two are enjoying your snow-bound weekend! The radio piece was great, I still see the image of that tree pivoting and falling across that fancy pick 'em up truck.

I laughed when I read about your Subaru, I drive a Forester myself. Great snow cars, and I love the gas milage after driving an old Jeep Cherokee for several years!

Posted by: ron at December 7, 2002 07:31 AM

Wintery white days spent in the warmth of another's arms

Posted by: Da Goddess at December 8, 2002 06:46 AM

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