We are back to it. Finally. After two (Surprise!) arctic days off were appended to the boys already substantial Christmas break, coats and boots were donned, breakfast shoveled in, and here I sit—a little stunned by the hubbub and its following silence.
All told, the boys had 18 straight days off. G counted them by sleeps:
“After this sleep do we have to go to school?” No. “After the next sleep do we have to go to school?” Nope. “After the next sleep?” Uh-uh. “After the next?” Nope. “And the next and the next and the next…”
Well, you get the idea. I had to start visualizing the calendar in my head so I could give him some sort of approximation. The game filled him with glee. As his birthday approached, his attention shifted there. Like Christmas, it’s the first time he really gets what it’s about (most theologies aside).
But that cold. The lowest windchill reading I saw was -33. Even Jonah—the boy impervious to cold—didn’t want to leave the house. I cringe to think what our heating bill will be. We have a few remaining leaded windows that are original to the house, all of which had frost on the inside panes:
Our back porch is (loosely) glassed in, and the hoar frost reminded me of something I read in Willa Cather’s Antonia. Or maybe it was Laura Ingalls’ Little House. The cold certainly brings it’s own sparkly, if shivering, beauty:
As you can see, different times of day bring out the yellow’s moods. And that room has me thinking about what it is to keep going. I am partial to mule/plow songs in that sense. Though it may sound like drudgery, there’s an inherent hopefulness we humans do in our getting up to live our lives again and again. I read a quote this morning by Maira Kalman (described by some as “normal lady buddha”):
How are we all so brave as to take step after step? Day after day? How are we so optimistic, so careful not to trip and yet do trip, and then get up and say O.K. Why do I feel so sorry for everyone and so proud?
Wendell Berry says something akin to that in this piece of a poem:
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it…
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts…
Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.