Posted tagged ‘winter’

“One of the most important days of my life, was when I learned to ride a bicycle.”

March 19, 2018

Winter has no idea it’s time to go. The days are cold and the nights even colder. The sun has a sharpness but no warmth. The breeze is slight but chilly. We are expecting snow Wednesday. The amount is still in question. Poor spring has no idea its arrival and welcome tomorrow will be so frosty. I suppose there is some comfort in saying it’s spring as we bundle up tomorrow.

This morning I noticed a purple crocus has joined the yellows. I also saw more green tops have broken through the soil. I think they might be irises. The day lilies have started poking their heads out of the ground. The garden is astir.

When I was a kid, I had spring jackets. They were unlined and zippered. Their colors were bright and welcoming to the eyes after winter coats. I was always in a hurry to start wearing one and used the calendar as my starting place, not the weather. My mother disagreed, and she always won. I was stuck wearing that heavy winter coat until my mother deemed the weather warm enough for a change in wardrobe.

Riding bikes on a spring day was as much a part of the changing season as the arrival of the crocus. I’d haul my bike out of the cellar, up the stairs, hop on, ride down the grassy hill and take off, no specific destination in mind. It was all about the ride. The sides of the streets were filled with sand, left over from the winter and snowy roads, so I’d bike on the sidewalk. On one street, the sidewalk always had frost heaves. It was the best ride, all bumpy and fun. We’d go to the school yard and skid on purpose in the sand. The bike tires would leave looping trails behind us. The swooshing sound from braking in the sand was the best part. We’d try and outdo each other with the longest skid.

The ride home was easy until my street. It was a huge hill, and that early in the spring I couldn’t pedal up the whole way being out of practice. I’d have to wheel my bike from about the halfway point. By the end of spring, though, I could pedal all the way up the hill, but I always got tired at that halfway point. I’d have to stand to use all my strength to pedal. I always expected an ovation of some sort when I made it all the way up the hill on my bike.

“It’s not always easy to distinguish between existentialism and a bad mood.”

March 8, 2018

The rain came yesterday in the mid-afternoon and stayed all night. It was sometimes so heavy it pelted the roof loudly enough to drown out the TV. Boston and further north had snow, a wet, heavy snow, the sort which looks beautiful for a minute then you notice how laden down the trees and branches are, and you hope they survive. Some wires fell from the weight of the snow and even blocked major roads. Here the sun has been trying to come out of the clouds. Twice now the sky has brightened. I get hopeful. I need sun to dispel my dark mood, a mirror of the rain and the clouds.

My Travelocity gnome and my pink, plastic flamingo are in the den. They winter here. In the warm months they live on my deck. It is a special occasion when they travel from winter to summer, from the den to the deck. I always think there should be a parade and music. They are announcing summer is finally here, a cause for celebration, for good food, and for warm days lolling on the deck. Right now, though, all of that seems a sweet memory.

From when I was kid, I remember winter most of all. My school was an old one with high windows and drafts of cold air so for most of the winter we all wore sweaters. I remember walking across the field below my street, a sort of shortcut home, and having to walk backwards because of the wind. My cheeks turned red and numb. The wind blew up the sleeves of my coat. My ears always hurt even when I was wearing a hat as it mostly just covered my head so I’d put my mittened hands over my ears trying to warm them just a bit. Mostly I failed. By the time I’d get home, I was freezing. Right away I’d take off my school clothes and get into my pajamas and slippers. I’d wrap myself in my blanket. In a short while, I was warm and all the parts of my body had come back to life.

I have no energy today, and I don’t care. It is the weather which is causing this foul mood.   A bit of sun is all I need.

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”

February 3, 2018

Today is beautiful with a blue sky and the return of the sun, but it’s cold, an uninviting cold. I have no inclination to go outside. The hot air from the furnace is blowing and keeping the house warm. I won’t even get dressed. I’m nice and cozy in my sweatshirt and my flannel pants. It snowed a bit yesterday, enough to cover the walk and my car windows. I’m hoping the sun will melt the windows clean so I won’t have to brush and scrape.

I always think it is the darkness of winter which palls the spirit so I do my best to compensate. I keep white candles lit in the windows, and their light shines across the dark lawn. In the living room, I light lanterns in the corners of the room. Their candles flicker and leave shadows on the walls. On the hearth, twelve tea lights shine in the votives of the long candle holder, and a gourd filled with white lights sits atop firewood in a basket. The room is filled with light and is warm and cozy and welcoming.

I do love New England and am not tempted to leave for sunnier climes. I am tired of winter, but around this time I am always tired of winter. The two years I spent in Ghana gave me an even greater appreciation for the changing seasons I so love. It was always warm there, and I tired of the warmth. I wanted to be cold, to see my breath on a crisp winter’s morning. I missed the beauty of snow and how wonderful it looks as it falls and how breathtaking the world is after a snowstorm. I wanted to welcome spring with all its colors and sights and smells. Where I lived in Ghana had no flowers. It had baobab and pawpaw trees and fields filled with millet and yams. It had grass, tall and green, but it had no flowers. I missed looking for the first spring shoots to appear, for the crocus and the daffodils.

Spring is always a miracle, and I wait for it with great expectations. Every day I check for the tips of shoots in my front garden. When I find one,  I want to dance wearing bright colors and flowers in my hair.

“Killing time is not an easy job.”

January 29, 2018

The sun is on vacation. Every day is dark and cloudy.

The sides of the street were wet this morning so it must have rained during the night. It is also going to rain this afternoon, and later the rain will be replaced by a few stray snowflakes. Tomorrow has the same forecast. A total of one to two inches is expected.

The world is catching up with me. I prefer cocooning, but sometimes I have no choice but to go out. Today I have errands, those mundane little chores which I generally eschew. Actually, I have a few days worth of errands. Little stickies are all over the house reminding me what I need, and the stickies have no room to grow. I’d much rather rummage through the cabinets and the freezer than go grocery shopping, but I need to get some cat food Maddie might eat. I cooked the last of the chicken for her this morning, and I could also buy a few groceries for me, quick foods which take little effort to cook. I need to go to the hardware store for some strange round light bulbs for the upstair’s hall light and I want nails for hanging pictures. The last stop will be the library to return and pick up books. I can’t successfully cocoon without books, without diversions to help pass the time.

I have been going to bed late, usually no earlier than two. It’s just a weird phase. I read, watch TV or play around on the computer. I’ve found the late night commercials are the worst. I figure stations think they have a captured audience so they throw on all the locally produced ads and the infomercials. Many of these late ads tout the talents of local attorneys who guarantee a pay day or you owe them nothing. Last night I saw two of these commercials, over and over. The stars of each were the attorneys themselves. In one, the attorney wore a suit and a cowboy hat, a really big cowboy hat. In this part of the country, cowboys are rare, practically nonexistent, so I wondered why the hat. I was speculating about it so much I never did hear the commercial. I figured the attorney was trying to be folksy or maybe he was thinking metaphor and hoped we’d jump to him corralling the bad guys. After all, the hat was white. But then again, I might just be giving him far too much credit. The second attorney had fake hair, a rug which looked a bit like a helmet. He sat at his desk, looked right into the camera and was heartfelt. He had clients give testimony to his skills and talents. My favorite client was an old lady who waxed eloquently about her experiences with the firm. She said they were more than attorneys. They were human beings. I’m still laughing.

“Each day has a color, a smell.”

January 25, 2018

Winter is back. It gets quite cold at night and hangs in until late in the morning. The air was brusque when I went to get the papers. It will get warmer over the weekend, the mid- forties, then winter will again rear its hoary head. It is 28˚ right now.

Today is a pretty day with lots of sun and a blue sky. The air is clean and colors seem to pop. The breeze is slight and only the tops of trees sway a bit.

Maddie is sick now. I took her to the vets yesterday as she hadn’t eaten and had trouble going to the bathroom. When I called and described what was going on, they had me bring her in right away. They gave her blood and urine tests and a couple of x-rays. She has a urinary track infection, a high potassium level and a high thyroid count. They gave her an antibiotic and fluid under her fur to hydrate her and I got three meds to give her twice a day. Things aren’t going great. I gave her the meds easily last night and she didn’t seem to mind all that much. This morning, though, she disappeared after getting the meds. I took my flashlight and went upstairs and found her under the bed in the guest room, an old haunt of hers. I patted her and talked to her hoping she’d come down stairs, but she hasn’t. I’ll go back up in a bit. I don’t want to overwhelm her. The vet is calling today so I’ll see what she recommends. Maddie is 18 and a half so anything is upsetting, especially now.

Nothing is on my dance card today. A trip to the dump is in the near future, but that’s it. My cleaning couple can’t come today so, aghast and horrors, I will have to vacuum. I hope I remember how. The laundry bags are still by the cellar door. This is day two of the wash watch.

I love the smell of burning candles. Last night it was cinnamon and before that it was coconut. This Christmas my sister gave me squares of peat and a small ceramic thatched Irish cottage to hold the burning embers. The other night I lit the peat. When it was burning, I was reminded of the old b&b in Youghal, Ireland. It was springtime and cold and damp. We were the only guests. The owner lit a peat fire in the grate in the dining room. The smell of peat filled the room. It stuck to my clothes. I could smell it even when I got home and opened my suitcase. Burning peat is, for me, the smell of memories.

“It is a happiness to wonder; — it is a happiness to dream.”

January 14, 2018

No doubt about it. Winter is here. The day is cold, a biting, damp cold, and it will get even colder tonight. When I went to get the papers, there were snow flurries, and they’re still around, small flakes from the north. It is a dark, cloudy, snowy day, the sort of day which gives winter a bad name. When I was a kid, I’d stay in all day near the hissing radiator. I’d color at the kitchen table or lie in my bed and read. I’d be wearing my flannel pajamas and slipper socks. Okay, I admit that it even sounds a lot like me now. I’m talking flannel bottoms, a sweatshirt on top and new slipper socks. Add a coloring book, and I could be ten again. I guess cozy doesn’t change much over the years.

Tonight is game night. We’ll play our two games, Sorry and Phase 10, and we’ll eat something while we’re playing and then we’ll have dessert after the games. Rumor has it we may be noshing on tacos. I’m doing the dessert this week, and I’m thinking chocolate pudding. I have all the ingredients and even have heavy cream. After the games, we watch The Amazing Race saved from Wednesday. It was always on Sundays before this so we maintain the tradition of games, food, the Race and dessert.

Poor Maddie got called Fern and Gracie this morning. She didn’t seem to care. That name mixup reminded me of my mother who used to take care of her younger brothers, Jack and Joe, long before she was married. If she wanted our attention or wanted us to stop what we were doing, she sometimes went through a litany of names to get to us. She’d say Jack, I mean Joe, I mean Kat. I never took offense.

My niece just posted pictures and videos of her two boys, ages 5 and 3, on Christmas morning. The older one stood in the entry way to the living room with his mouth wide open when he saw the toys left by Santa. He was amazed. I remember those days of walking downstairs on Christmas morning and seeing the lit tree surrounded by toys and gifts. It is one of the wonders of the world.

 

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”

January 8, 2018

The day was sunny when I first woke up. It’s cloudy now, but it’s warm so I’m fine with the clouds. The temperature is above freezing. I can hear the drips of the melting snow from the roof. They sound like rain.

This is the week of the January thaw, earlier than usual. Each new day will get progressively warmer and by Friday it will be 50˚. My mind can’t fathom 50˚ after this last week which forever changed my definition of cold. I got to the point where 8˚ felt warm.

Today is tackle the tree day. It is still lit and decorated and is the last remnant of Christmas. The living room is drab and dark without it. Winter, with its early nights and late dawnings, is back, but there is some consolation. The cold air gives the night clarity. The light of the moon shines on the snow, and stars blanket the sky. Everything is perfectly still. Lights from windows arc across the snow. Smoke curls from chimneys, and sometimes I can smell wood burning. I stand outside and brave the cold just to take in the night.

My street has no streetlights. Sometimes it can be so dark the house across the street disappears. I keep lit candles in my front windows all the time. They are but a small break in the darkness.

When I was a kid, I always greeted the first star, “Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.” Even now that wish just jumps into my head. I’d hate to outgrow believing in things I can’t see.

I haven’t been out in a while to go anywhere. The cold has kept me inside the house. I’ve read, watched TV, napped and saved recipes I’ll never make from magazines.

After days when we were stuck inside because of the weather, my mother would demand we go out and get fresh air. I never thought to question the importance of getting fresh air. I just bundled up and went out. I was much older before I realized my mother’s fresh air fetish was really a bid by her to stay sane. She had four kids who whined constantly about being bored after only two days stuck inside the house. She needed relief and it came under the guise of fresh air. I can still hear her. It was never go out and get some air. It was always go out and get fresh air. I don’t know why, but I love this memory.