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Little Muchness

February 12, 2013

In the wake of the Big Snow on the east coast, my mother’s arthritis flare-up in the mid-west, and the snow-lust of a friend on the west coast, I’ve been thinking about the way weather makes winter too exciting, usually with an anti-climax.

Here is a photo of the parking lot as it so often looks on my way in to work in February.  photo(5)

Picking my way through that without falling on the artificial knee is easy next to the absolute terror of braving the icy asphalt walkway down to the theater on an icy February night, which I recently did for the pleasure of seeing Hedda Gabler done as a sort of dark comedy.  I held onto Ron’s arm. He is patient, but a bit puzzled at the extremity of my fear. It’s a cripple thing.

I like it when we’ve all made it safely home after another 1-inch-snowfall day when no one plows or shovels because it’s unremarkable, but it makes the corners of everything slick and treacherous. Just one wrong move and bam! Your car is in the shop and your life has changed.  But not tonight, dear. Here we are, safely in front of the fire. Burning the logs from a tree we cut down after a thunderstorm in June.

The sun goes down on my fear, and I realize that although I geared myself up for a tragedy, what I’ve gotten is an ordinary Wednesday afternoon. It is, in the words of this poem by Mary Ann Samyn, a “little muchness.”

Little Muchness

Some shouting and the tree came down branch by branch,
My not so fast a little late.

Now the wood burns and as usual I think my house is on fire.
Thus June ends.

What is with the world, I asked, and laid my cheek against the mantel.
I’m certainly not the first.

The sunset shrugs—see ya—and goes over the next-to-last mountain.
This is what not settling looks like.

I suppose a brave man might take this opportunity to get braver.
I’m done, so I’ll wait in the kitchen.

After too many winter afternoons, I do want to say “I’m done” and wait–by the fireplace or in the kitchen–for it to be over.

And you?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2013 10:31 am

    I like this line:

    “I suppose a brave man might take this opportunity to get braver.”

    Friends of mine hate the English sky for being perpetually gray, overcast and cloudy. They say it depresses them. At the risk of sounding entirely maudlin – me, I just think it’s simply ideal for starting off on a quest, either on a ship or on horseback.

    • February 13, 2013 8:32 am

      That would be brave, to start off on a quest. This year and last, I have a quest, to go visit my mother at the beginning of March, when the weather might be good enough that I can get down there. She lives a day’s drive further south, so I get to see some signs of spring along the way.

  2. February 12, 2013 11:16 am

    We’ve just had snow again and I am ready for spring (or even summer, do you think we might get a summer over here this year?) now, as much as I like the winter.

    • February 13, 2013 8:34 am

      It’s always good to be able to purchase a door into summer. I like to go somewhere really hot (90 degrees Fahrenheit, at least) in June or July, because Ohio doesn’t have those reliably hot temps that I grew up with.

  3. February 12, 2013 4:20 pm

    I like this poem (I’m more like that htan I used to be) and I’m sorry for your slipperiness. That isn’t much fun, I agree —

    • February 13, 2013 8:37 am

      One big snow is fun, for a day. Sometimes watching the snow drift down is fun; I remember standing at the window with babies, who were briefly fascinated by the snowflakes twirling around.
      I do think your snow-lust would cool if you experienced the weeks of 1-2 inches every other day.

  4. February 13, 2013 10:53 am

    In retrospect, I think the last couplet might be the short explanation of my move from snowy upstate New York to steamy Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “I suppose a brave man might take this opportunity to get braver/I’m done, so I’ll wait in the kitchen.”

    • February 13, 2013 7:12 pm

      You are so brave! And that does give the final line a “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” twist.

  5. February 13, 2013 1:34 pm

    Ugh! Why must you taunt me with that awful photo of awfulness!

  6. March 12, 2013 2:00 pm

    Thank you for making me not feel so scared in the extreme either – every time I see a patch of ice, or glinting snow, my breath catches – I tore my ACL and meniscus two years ago trying to get over a snowbank because the city doesn’t plow unless it has to. This was three months after slipping on ice and hitting my head. To say that I step carefully now all winter long would not be an exaggeration! and it gets so tiring! I wish I could step along as I used to, brave and confident of every step – then I have to console myself by thinking, just going out to walk on the slippery sidewalks is for me now, bravery, every day. Maybe we can blame age and experience! I do know exactly how you feel, though.

    • March 13, 2013 4:29 pm

      It does get so tiring! I’m sorry you know the feeling, but a little happy in that misery-loves-company and I’m-not-completely-crazy way.

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