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Even though Winter (ick) is technically a month-ish away, we are expecting it to make an appearance next week. I don’t count the minor snowfall two weeks ago, because I refused to leave the house until it was gone, therefore to me, it didn’t happen. We have been blessed with a long Autumn this year, and MKL and I were saying today that we hope Winter will be merciful and Spring kind to us. (This past Spring was a cruel taskmistress, as my blizzard-struck fallen miracle of an evil tree demonstrated.) We still have a few late-falling leaves on trees, a few streaks of color in dips between mountains, and the morning cold of our wrought iron benches is not vicious enough to weasel its way through one’s clothes to one’s skin. Yet. But soon, we will be asking each other, “Why do we live here?” I am a landlocked mermaid, who never meant to stay here in the mountains, but sometimes not making choices throughout one’s life is a choice in itself. And it led me to MKL, for which I am grateful. As I am grateful we can keep each other warm throughout the cold snaps.
Quote of the day: “We fit together like puzzle pieces when we snuggled together.” — Andrea Smith
A new dress
Floofy dogs in sunny windows
It is National Poetry Writing Month (for any of you who wish to learn more about it go here), and as few of you know, I have been writing poetry my whole life. I go in phases, sometimes publishing here, sometimes elsewhere. Since the muse has been distracted for some time, I have written little of late. NaPoWriMo, which, along the lines of NaNoWriMo, encourages writers to create one poem a day for the month of April, is a good time for me to reacquaint myself with the craft and all of its nuances. I’m a few days late starting, so I’ll try to catch up over the course of the month. Here, I give you today’s offering:
Ripped from his roots and tossed in the street,
She felt the remains of his limbs at her feet.
His leftover lifelong intertwinedness
Curling around the tender tendrils of her toes,
The nature of the stone in his leftover soul,
Stealing away her green, her light, her life.
Inch by bitter inch,
And yet she did not die.
She stood, her own life crumbling around her,
Her madness and grief on display for all to see
In her wild hair and shattered serenity,
And her untended children.
She caught and cradled herself in her own brittle arms
As she fell, piece by broken piece,
And her heart become dry and hard,
Hard and cold until the day she could no longer
Stand to stand,
The weight of the world too much to bear.
She gave up,
Throwing herself from her steadfast post,
Cathy on the crag ever seeking her lost Heathcliff ,
And pitched in a fit of wind-driven pique,
Collapsed with a hush, wrapped in frozen blankets,
Her descent carefully guided by watchful angels,
Finally to join him.
And yet, some small part of her still fights,
That raging, tangled madwoman, turning on her saviors,
Cutting them to ribbons as they tried to help her move
On towards a transformed life.
Is never easy,
And death itself is seldom
But, never fear, gentle reader, I shall not deprive you of your daily image, quote, and gratitudes. Enjoy the month.
Elk and Pines in Snowfall, Estes Park, Colorado.
Quote of the day: “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” — Leonardo DaVinci
A beautiful day
The velvet of pansy petals
Fighting off a cold (and losing, but still fighting)
Trying to help
Warm milk at bedtime
One of my surrogate daughters asked me today if I loved or hated the snow. It’s truly a thin line between love and hate, though it’s certainly not a thin line between sand and snow. Those two are generally as far apart as Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, and as we all know, I’m on the sandy side.
I love the sound of snow, like a softly crocheted blanket dropping slowly and gently on the earth. I like the silence that accompanies it, the dearth of traffic, the stillness of the birds which are just now starting to explore the possibility of perhaps maybe conceivably returning. It’s beautiful when it is pristine and untouched, unshoveled, unplowed. If I could sit in a tower and watch it swath the hills and trees and fields, I would love it. Working from a cozy house as it piles up isn’t bad either.
With my internal furnace currently set at magma, the cold doesn’t bother me so much, but going out in the snow is just a huge struggle. I’d love to go cross-county skiing or snowshoeing, but getting ready to go out, getting to the car, making it driveable, and getting anywhere is just … no. I remember that from my childhood, when three inches of snow was a ridiculous amount. We never saw 16 inches in North Carolin in those days.
We seem to have topped out at around that foot and a half point with this storm, which the most accurate weatherman called a “crockpot” storm, because it took a while to develop. Now we just wait for the meltdown. Perhaps if I threw my magma-hot self into the snowbank, it would help things along.
Snow on my favorite fuzzy tree, Lafayette, Colorado.
Quote of the day: “Cold and silence. Nothing quieter than snow. The sky screams to deliver it, a hundred banshees flying on the edge of the blizzard. But once the snow covers the ground, it hushes as still as my heart.” — Laurie Halse Anderson
Making soup on a cold day
Having help shoveling my walk
That MKL is home safe
It’s been tolerably temperate here in Colorado as Christmas preparations proceed everywhere but my house. I have high hopes, though, of getting my tree this week, and putting out what decorations I have. Maybe I’ll share those with you as a Christmas countdown. As you might expect, they’re all a little odd, and mostly animal-related. Kelsea comes home on Saturday. Saturday is also the ninth anniversary of my Mother’s death, which makes this week very hard for me on a level deeper than I care to admit. The pain and depression of losing her still lies very close to the surface, and causes me to lose my temper at little things, which is not how I behave anymore. So I re-cracked my healing broken toe kicking the closet door this morning (frightening Mr. Man – I’m sorry, Mr. Man), and cried over my computer password not working. I know I will be better when this week has passed. MKL and I have a performance of Amal and the Night Visitors (a forgotten childhood favorite) to look forward to on Friday, and a night at the Stanley Hotel to look forward to on Sunday, so pictures will follow. I do hope your holiday preparations are moving right along, and that the spirit of the season eases your burdens and cares, instead of intensifying them. That’s what Christmas is all about, after all.
Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Quote of the day: “Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is believing you’re worthy of the trip.” — Glenn Beck
Mr. Man’s forgiving nature
Or not! I think “not” if the icicles are reaching from the gutter to the ground. Once, the winter after we moved into the Bungalow, Kelsea took one of her Spanish swords to the icicles, much to her satisfaction. It did seem like a good idea, but I then discovered that they must have served a purpose, as I had a leak in the bedroom window frame for weeks afterwards. Therefore, these icicles will be staying put until they decide that spring is here.
Quote of the day: “A blade of grass is the journeywork of the stars.” — Walt Whitman (I would give anything to see a blade of grass. This has been a hard, bleak winter.)
Cuddling with MKL
Watching cat videos to keep our stress levels down
The poignant can of Hormel chili abandoned in a snowdrift
The nearly circular sundog in the sky yesterday morning
A cat that loves me
I was under the impression that icicles hung down. They are certainly hanging from my eaves and gutters. But apparently, this icicle is under the mistaken impression that it is a stalagmite.
Quote of the day: “In the vast reaches of the dry, cold night, thousands of stars were constantly appearing, and their sparkling icicles, loosened at once, began to slip gradually toward the horizon.” — Albert Camus
Nice post office people
It’s baaaack. Yes, the snow is back. We are nowhere near the Northeast totals, but our streets are icy and our yards are getting deeper by the moment. I have been talking about the weather a lot, haven’t I? As if I am an awkward stranger at a party, rather than the mistress of my own blog. It’s not that I don’t have anything else to say, but that I have so many things I want to write about just now and don’t want to shortchange my thoughts. Soon come.
Quote of the day: “I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us…” — Mary Oliver
Mr. Man with his paw on my keyboard
Rides with Elisa
That MKL is getting better (I miss him)
Hearing songs that I love that I’d forgotten about (wish I hadn’t lost my iPod)
You know it’s not like me to be too Pollyanna-esque, but I am trying to maintain a sense of positivity as we seem to be diving back into the great white hole that is winter. It reminds me of the Great Blue Hole in Belize, where divers become so mesmerized that they simply keep going down and never return. I have never been there, but this is what it looks like, if you’re not familiar with it:
Great Blue Hole, Belize (image credit: Atlas Obscura)
Quite a different view than from our snow-covered porches, eh?
Being a beach baby, I thought diving would be a wonderful experience for me. My first snorkeling experience was so magical, once I got the hang of it, that diving seemed to be the next logical step. Alas, it was not to be. I took the initial certification class, but unlike any of my classmates, needed an extra lesson before my instructor was comfortable signing off on me. I couldn’t get over the inability to breathe, and the pressure on my ears, and the growing sense of panic as I went deeper. And so, that dream was wrapped in a lacy lavender sea fan, and tucked away safely for the next lifetime. Even snorkeling now is a challenge, due to ill-fitting masks and random hairs and disorientation. But I have my exquisite memory of my first snorkel, playing alone with two Hawksbill turtles for twenty minutes. And accidentally brushing my hand against some fire coral, but that’s a tale for another time. It was after the diving lessons and a talk with my instructor that I realized I was a beach baby, not a water baby. That those two things were different, and that I need to be BY the water, and IN the water, but not UNDER the water. A dream trip to the Galapagos is still on the Bucket List, and MKL and I will brush up on our snorkeling and snorkel there like billy-o.
But back to the cold reality of a Colorado winter. Poor MKL has the flu and has had expensive car troubles since we tried to escape the -19 weather back in November. It seems to have tailed him like some sort of ninja, springing to beat him about the head and wallet with numchuks when he least expects it. And now he is terribly blue. Having just recovered from my own bug, and being swamped at work, I have not been able to bring him supplies (supplies being Sauza Tequila, which is the cure of all that ails one, Vicks VapoRub, chicken soup, and tender nursing.) I keep telling him that this too shall pass, and it will. It always does. The only certainty in life is change.
While I dislike winter as much as he does, and we are tempted to rethink our strategy for where we live after Kelsea gets out of college, I am trying to stay positive. Hence, today’s unicorn snow. Can you see the sparkles in the photo taken along the fence? It glittered as it was falling in the cold sun, and looked like some celestial unicorns were shaking off the last vestiges of a fine slumber. And the birds had not given up hope and were singing, even in the 8 degree morning. What choice does one have but to try to find encouragement in such signs of spring?
However, Colorado has only put a dent in its winter inferiority complex and will be providing us with more snow this week. Let’s see how far into the white hole I can dive without running out of oxygen.
Quote of the day: (As an aside, this was a favorite of my Mother’s and she had it in front of the bathroom mirror throughout her battle with cancer. It sits on my dresser today. I carefully brought it all the way home from North Carolina and dropped it getting out of the car and broke the frame. I’ve left it so, as there seemed to be some kind of symbolism in that occurrence.)
““In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus
Getting the occasional ride to work with Elisa
Louis Bayard’s weekly recap of Downton Abbey in the NYT that makes me laugh out loud
Head bonks with Mr. Man
Buena Vista, Colorado.
This was last weekend up at Cottonwood Hot Springs, where MKL and I spent a blissful three nights, with a lovely mix of sun, stars, and snow.
Here, we’ve had the hype of a Snowpocalypse, with everyone rushing to the grocery store, cleaning the shelves out of bread and milk, and creating checkout lines from the front of the store to the back. I suspect Colorado is having an inferiority complex because of all the snow in Boston and surrounding areas, so we are talking up this weekend’s storm as if it were the first one we’ve ever had. As it is, it’s snowing, yes, a good respectable snow, but nothing fancy. “They” say that we’re getting three storms from three different directions in the course of the next 24 hours, but I have my doubts.
I’ve been so quiet because I’ve been working too much (and had zero connectivity during our three nights at Cottonwood Hot Springs). I realize that this is a pattern that has been in place since I first started working. Looking through my recently unearthed high school yearbook, I saw that several of my classmates said something along the lines of “Don’t work too hard!” It was the first time I had realized that I had maintained this kind of pace for almost 40 years, with only a few exceptions: when I took a year off when my baby girl was two, and when I got down to a half-time job for about seven months in 2010, as I was thinking my life was going to take on a certain shape. Fortunately, it took on a different shape than I had expected, but I picked up the work pace just as I had in the past. It makes me wonder why.
With my income(s), I am fortunate enough to be able to take vacations, have a home, pay my alimony/child support, buy books and groceries, go out to lunch with MKL most days, and (hopefully in the extreme) send my daughter to college so she doesn’t come out with student loans. I do not have an extravagant life, but it is comfy. Cutting back on my work would make it less comfy, and would make it more likely that Kelsea starts her adult life in debt. But I don’t think those are the reasons I work too much. even though I don’t have an answer for why I do. I think it’s important that I explore this element of who I am. At least before I work myself to death.
And on that cheery note, please be advised that today, instead of working, I am writing this post, watching the snow fall, and drinking caramel cocoa as a special treat.
Stay warm, all.
Quote of the Day: “I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” — Lewis Carroll
A carb day
Taking care of Kelsea
(As an aside, I started watching “Patch Adams” this morning, which began with Robin Williams committing himself to a mental hospital because he was suicidal. That was hard enough, but then he became roommates with Philip Seymour Hoffman, and I was done. It was too hard to watch. Just felt the need to share that.)
I can’t say I’m not glad to see the back of January. It seems to have been a tough month for many. Let’s hope February is kinder. Being a Spring and Summer person, winter is tough (don’t ask me why I live in Colorado), and in February, there are signs of Spring. Not snowdrops or crocuses – it’s a bit too early for that – but I grasp at the smallest things: the fact that they have the flyer for proposed bus route changes coming in May on my morning commute; that movie trailers say “coming this summer”; that it stays light just a little bit later every day. We had a lovely fluffy snow last night – not hard to shovel, and just some curious magical quality to it, so that it clung to the tree branches like albino caterpillars, and made the fields seem buried in puffed silk. It was a snow I didn’t mind, and for me, that’s saying something.
Quote of the day: “Fortunately, I’m good at ignoring a lot of what my brain does.” — Richard Kadrey
An interesting Super Bowl
A snuggly Mr. Man
Missing Michael – I would be sadder if I didn’t miss him
The big fat pig enjoying the snow in her field
The cry of a crow