Jilly D.

Bleak midwinter

In Health, Mourning, Time and seasons on January 21, 2011 at 2:16 am

Deerly missed

There are days so dark sometimes it scares me. Blue grey cloud cover matches my interior mood. I know it is midwinter but to need a light to read midmorning seems ridiculous. This ain’t Sweden. 

I put on a chipper Skipper persona and try to face another day. Another snow day. Struggling to keep myself clear of long dog leads and twisted, contorted positions, I shiver and shake in the dank coldness of mid-January morning walk with the dogs.

After my Lucy and Scooby have done their duty at dawn and walked me as far as I’m willing to be dragged, I set about to my errands and clean the car off of snow and ice; only occasionally having time to shovel the walkway.

Once on State Route 79 west into Ithaca, I relax as the driving becomes monotonous. I look at myself in the rear-view mirror and am shocked to see a deep frown. I think my face is just relaxed but it’s so sad. I need to get my smile muscles back.

I’m on my way to a work-out. Me in my gym clothes reminds me Sue on Glee…the cheerleading coach who is always so glum?

I look back and remember clearing off the solar panels last year in this kind of weather. I burned more calories last winter just trying to stay warm. Hauling in firewood and trying to keep the cabin warm enough to survive got my internal metabolism going as I completed these tasks. No more.

Now I can take a hot shower at any hour of the day or night. The on-demand hot water heater doesn’t care what time it is. It’s on-demand. The steam from the shower fills the bathroom and my sinuses and skin begin to contract and relax muscles I didn’t know I had before I started lifting weights.

The luxuries afforded by this new everyday life are gifts for which I am most grateful. I know I pay for hot water and electricity and heat in a way that isn’t generated independently, but the convenience is appreciated.

And there are so many magical  conveniences I’ve discovered by going back “on the grid.” I don’t burn the popcorn anymore because I have an electrical appliance dedicated to the perfection of popping it perfectly if only you follow the instructions.

The fruit smoothie is a recipe which requires an electric blender. The hand-cranked versions are an entirely separate category. The blender makes fresh pesto possible; also lemon-tahini salad dressing. Oh my. The blender is my new best friend.

The reading lamp is required for reading! Hello?  I do not need to read by the glow of my laptop. Nor candlelight, moonlight or the old oil lamps. It’s as easy as the flick of a switch. And lordy I’m guilty of leaving a light or two on; including the outdoor porch light so I can see where to put the key when I come into my cottage after dark.

Smiling still hurts.

I can’t forget driving down Deer Run Lane and looking with such deep intention to see the land and what had changed at home. Was there a fire going; in which fireplace? Were the deer, elk and bison where they were supposed to be? Where’s Sam’s truck? The tractor is in the machine shed? Where is the old golf cart? Who let the dogs out? Sam did. 

Winter has left its mark on the farm and I can’t drive down and repeat the old mantra. The dogs are with me. The snow is too deep to make it down and back out without plowing. I can’t get to the pond and commune with Sam. He’s here with me in my heart; the ripped apart still open wound. Broken hearts never split even. Jagged and rough.

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