Wednesday, January 08, 2014


The cold has narrowed my focus to simply finding heat however I can. Last week's lovely snow melted before the arctic air dipped down too far, leaving nothing behind but hard, icy edges. I feel stiff and slow-moving, dressed as I have been in multiple layers and aching under the perpetual hunch in my shoulders. I need to melt, in more ways than one, and feel warm again.

Today I'm most grateful for sheep, geese and beans. 

(Those stand for wool sweaters, anything filled with down, and all the precious beanbags my friends have given me for warming in the microwave.)

Oh, and the moments when I opened the just-done dishwasher and then later, the oven to retrieve the crumb cake. Mmm. Those were good moments. 

But the Polar Vortex of 2014 has spun back north and I'm glad. 

Evan and I marveled about how tonight, when the air temperature rose to the mid-twenties, it felt mild. Skin and blood grow thick and thin so easily in the changeable winters of this place. 

By the weekend it will be merely chilly and wet, which will feel familiar, though I'm not sure I'll actually feel warmer. At least the poor heat pump will be able to get the house above 59 degrees so I'll have a chance. 

I would feel warmer if my heart weren't just a little broken. A recent death in my family has that extra tinge of tragedy-she was so young, this cousin. Only 25. The age of my children. And gone. It really is like a candle blown out--light, then a wisp of smoke, then, dark.

But I like much better the quote my dear, dear friend shared: 
"Death is not extinguishing the light. It is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come."
(Rabindranath Tagore)
Yes. I like thinking of her falling to sleep here, then waking up to a warming dawn there, feeling perhaps as if the last 25 years have been the dream and now she can move on to the work of eternity.

I have not ever lived in her near orbit, but I have a few sweet memories that I will treasure. And my heart will ache for her closest family. Their loss is keenest and I feel that as sharp as ice in my mother's heart.

The winter here is just a couple of weeks old, so more cold is coming. Next time I'll be ready and keep moving rather than sitting still and letting the chill settle in so deeply.

Something that will help is remembering what matters: it is always a good time to mend a friendship or tell someone you love them. Death will do that if you let it: wake you up to regret and worry and wishes and if you use those three as fuel, they will move you, like an engine, closer to the people that are living.

So I will do something, and the cold will give way.

1 comment:

  1. Sending you lots of big, warm thoughts of hugs and blankets and hot chocolate.


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