Posted tagged ‘Russian steppes’

“I want to caution you against the idea that balance has to be a routine that looks the same week in and week out.”

January 2, 2016

Today is windy and chilly. It is winter cold. Gracie and I will be making a dump run later. The dump is all open land with no trees or buildings so when the wind blows like today, it is so cold I always think of the Russian steppes. I can never empty my trunk fast enough.

I don’t remember it being all that cold when I was a kid, but I do remember the wind. It blew across the field at the foot of my street and the strongest wind would sometimes almost blow us away. We’d laugh and even raise our arms like sails so the wind could catch us. Some days we’d walk backwards as protection from the wind. Our collars would be up. Our hats were pulled down to cover our ears and to save them from flying off, from being borne by the wind. We’d hold the bottom of our jacket sleeves to keep the wind from sneaking up inside. I’d arrive home almost breathless and with cheeks reddened by the wind.

I never counted days until vacations. I counted days until Christmas but that had to do with Santa and new toys. Going back to school in January was no big deal when I was young. That was my lot in life so I just took it all in stride. Later, when I was older, I was far less pleased at the end of vacation because it meant back to my routine, to long hours which left little time for fun, for enjoying even the smallest piece of the day.

I figure retirement is a gift, a recompense for all those days. I have a routine of sorts which involves coffee and the papers and KTCC but then that’s it for the rest of the day. I fill the hours handily and usually happily.

“Nothing burns like the cold.”

January 7, 2014

Last night the wind and the heat blasting competed for noise. I woke up around 3, read until 5 then slept in late. My friend who has been hobbling for days with a bad knee called and asked if I wouldn’t mind doing an errand. Her husband, her go-to-it guy, has the flu. I’m thinking the house needs a quarantined sign, but I was more than happy to do a mission of mercy. I put Gracie’s coat on her and we went outside then ran to the car. The cold was pervasive. My car temperature gauge said 17˚ but that didn’t take into account the wind chill. I can’t remember when last it was so cold. My house is nice and warm because the heat seems to be blowing constantly. The back door is closed so Gracie has to ring her doggie bells to go outside. She’s not out for long. Gracie is no dumb animal.

I used to walk to school all the time. It didn’t matter how wet or cold the day was. The walk wasn’t all that long, maybe 15 or 20 minutes, but we had to pass by a field where the wind swept across in the same way I figure it blows on the Russian steppes. Our clothes billowed in the wind and our faces felt as if they were frost-bitten. I remember trying to fight that wind by walking backwards. I was bundled. We all were, but sometimes it just didn’t seem enough. I can’t imagine walking to school on a day as cold as this one.

Most of the snow is gone, melted by yesterday’s warmth. Piles left by the plow sit by the sides of the road and snow lies on lawns sheltered from the sun. The snow is crusty, and I crunched my way to the driveway to get the papers. It is one of my favorite sounds.

The birds must be sheltered somewhere as there are none at the feeders. Usually all four feeders are filled with birds, some holding on to their spots, like the gold finches at the thistle, and others flying in and out. Yesterday there were many.

I am going out this evening to have dinner with friends. The paper says it should be around 10˚ once the sun goes down. I’m going to bundle even though it’s house to car and vice versa. My phone is charged just in case. Knowing my luck sometimes, I like to prepare for any contingency.

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