Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day one thousand one hundred and twenty-eight . . . Snow, salt, and flowers.

I signed up for this a long time ago.

I had the chance to move away from New England--from the northeast with its unpredictable winters that either make you feel shortchanged or victimized. But I stayed for a lot of reasons and I don't really have any plans to go anywhere for too long anytime soon.

It's so easy to lose perspective right about now. Because right about now my world seems to have been taken over by different shades and varying heights of hard, unforgiving, slippery, sludgy, salty, sandy, weather residue. It's indifferent towards me. It just sits there on the ground, on my roof, or on (and under) my car. Like a teenager's best friend laying on the couch in the basement the snow and ice doesn't really feel an ounce of responsibility for my daily woes.

"But I have to get to work!"

Oops. Huh. That's a real pickle. Sucks to be you.

And as I'm standing there with my scraper in both hands, trying with all my might to shave off enough ice to see far enough to drive until the defrosters have a chance to do the rest of the work I forget that hundreds of thousands of others are doing the exact same thing.

I was out there yesterday when it was real bad. I shoveled and I scraped. I even developed this new technique where I take my snow broom and throw it up in the air like a spear in an attempt to dislodge from the gutters as many icicles of death as I can. I works great except for the fact that I have to go pick it up wherever it lands, which is usually right about the same area where seconds before giant daggers of solid, pointy ice had come furiously down with a thud.

When I was about ready to come back in I tried to pat off the snow on my pants legs--it was up to my pockets, really--and I realized that they were actually frozen. My jeans had solidified and were a wrinkled tube not unlike the kind you attach to the back of a dryer.

But I survived all of that and here I am.

I know that the days are getting longer--it's a scientific fact--but I can still feel that sun racing through the sky like an Olympic sprinter indifferent yet fully aware that it will beat me to the finish. And I also know that once again at around four o'clock I'll slump my shoulders as I flip through the things in my mind that I needed its full cooperation for.

But I signed up for this a long time ago.

I notice way too many things around me these days. Perhaps that's one of the things that kept me from sobriety for so long. When your senses start to paw and nudge at you like a puppy with a ball it can be a bit overwhelming. If you throw the ball it'll stop for a while, and then it comes right back again.

Funny that I used what I used for so long to enhance my senses--not that that's not what happened. It certainly did. But I also don't notice that my computer screen is too bright for me after I've been looking at it for an hour. I can't really tell that it's affecting my vision until I look away . . . or until somebody else looks at and says something.

I hear the snow blowers with their constant whirring. But if I close my eyes and forget that I'm wearing a wool sweater I can picture the sound coming from lawnmowers.

We had a severe drought last year. It seems as if the city restricted our outside water uses from April until September. But all around the area is thousands of pounds of potential water just sitting there teasing the dead life below it.


I bought some fresh flowers the other day on a whim--some tulips, a hyacinth and a stem of four or five aromatic stargazer lilies. It was simply one of the best things I think I have ever done.

I paid twelve dollars and walked away with a foolproof serum for these winter drearies. I gave them to Jodi which made her happy. Then she put them all around the house which made us both happy. And now when I am doing the dishes I can smell the hyacinth every so often I find myself wondering if it's a new dish soap that smells so good. Then I realize what's right in front of me: colorful, fragrant life in a little piece of pottery with some tap water, in the dead of winter, with hard packed snow a foot outside my window and icicles of death hanging overhead.

But before I see that view I have to get past those flowers.

It's these things that I notice that will get me through the winter.

It's these things that I notice that will help me remember that while the sun seems to be winning the race right now each day my personal best keeps gets better.

It's these things that I notice that will keep me from feeling too trapped by my surroundings, my leanings, my state allegiance, my adopted hometown.

It's these things that I notice that I had to write about today.

And it's these things that I notice that I hope will always be an inspiration.

Thanks for reading,


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