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.
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.”
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.