Saturday, December 15

Let It Be Peace

Let it snow
Since we've no place but
earth to go and
Let it snow
sitting by the fire's still
Let it snow.
Let it be
Let it be
Let it be
Now that I've
found you
Let it be me.
Let it snow
Let it be
Snow and
Words of
Let it be

Sunday, December 9

Christmas Bells Are Ringing

Home Again Jig

One two three
Homes in one year: Rock,
Brick, and now this:
Water. One two three homes
Because I still say
That home is where the
Heart is, without reservation; home
Is where the love is, without
Conservation, and I am here
Now with all my heart, my old
Four chambered dwelling place.
I don't care who or what your
Love is, or mine. Now comes the
Water. Rain and dew and sleet and
Snow and what they call
Humidity, as if it's not
Just a deficit of oxygen or hyperbole
of hydrogen, and fog and early
Morning mist and the lakes them-
Selves big, loaded breasts full and heavy
And heaving, resplendant and tremulous. Oh,
There's water water everywhere, and
I, parched Dragon thirsty Sage, gulp deep
Draughts until milk runs in the ancient channels,
The creases of my aged chin. One two
Three homes in which the heart has been pounding
Some faltering beats, some steady, some
African rhythms, a little mambo, could
That be, yes, Aleutian, or just one
Single somber note pulsed by a muffled
Drumstick at intervals through the prolonged
Darkness. Can you Tango Maureen
Or just dance with me slowly now,
Now that I've come home, will you
Dance with me and let my head, my
Graying head, rest for just this one mo-
Ment on your chest, your breast, rest,
While our feet inch this way and
That but do not go any distance for
We are done moving; now that I am home? Oh a
One and a two and a three, oh a
Year. The rock did not allow my feet to
Set down roots nor to leave a set of
Footprints. The bricks did not let my de-
Flated veins gain purchase on dingy
Window ledges. Here, where prevailing
Northern damp makes my dry wit leary
And I am afraid of fungus and ap-
Prehensive of mold and my old dog
Dismays me with his delight in the smell of
Rot all around, my toes, once bound by
Brick once bound by granite, be-
Gin to uncurl in the loose, black loam, to
Stretch like the arteries of ivy that
Clung to the walls of my
Grandmother's house, here
I can be stronger than ever I knew
To be, stronger and with my
Blood roaring like a lava stream
Down the green avenues.

December 7, 2007

Thursday, December 6

And It's Beginning to Snow!

The first of December brought the first big snow; now it is winter. Now we understand the blue barrels standing sentinel, the wavering lines of feeble fence posts strung across lakeshore parks like the first battalion dispatched to hostile territory. Now we understand a little more about why so many people here are fat; I haven't gone on a run all week, and shivering is the only way besides shovelling I've burned significant calories. I now know why so many Northerners drink too much hard liquor; it burns on the way down, all the way down through one's core. We even understand a little about the Vikings and unpopular fashions in fur. I'm not kidding.

The storm started out in veils, lovely, gauzy veils. Walking down Willy Street on a cold Saturday morning with a bag of groceries hung from one mittened hand, a clutch of 8-foot metal strips draped more awkwardly from the other, I can't help but sing oh so softly "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow," for the snow falling in big soft flakes is as pure and joy-evocative as a puppy slathering kisses on my cheeks. My neighbor is out scattering sand from Guardsman Blue Barrel over his sidewalk. "I have a theory that an underlayer of sand makes it easier to shovel when the ice comes," he explains. "Of course, I'm a Floridian. What do I know about snow?"

Indeed. No one knows much about how to cope with the snow we find ourselves facing when the gauzy veils and glittery raiments of this storm are ripped off later that day. It is a mean storm, a menacing storm, and one from which we are still doing our best to recover three days later as the next storm takes aim. By the time I come out of a matinee of "Rent" Saturday afternoon, it's sleeting, and every weather forecaster in the area is busy explaining the critical nuances of difference and pain between "sleet" and "freezing rain," both of which enter every forecast. I cancel my plans to stroll up and down State Street in the afterglow of the show and duck instead into the nearest inadequate bus shelter. Arriving home, I do one quick pass with the snow shovel down my small stretch of sidewalk. The earlier sanding, done under the approving eye of the Floridian, does absolutely nothing to mitigate the weight of the snow, now packed heavily with the wet weight of the continuing sleet. My plastic shovel, so perfect for the dry, powdery snow of Colorado, is barely adequate. By the next day, it will be useless.

Here, you need ice choppers and heavy metal shovels. Sand and salt, in abundance. Where I spurned and lamented salt last week for being unecological and bad for my dog's paws when well meaning neighbors sprinkled it on my porch steps, now I lust for it. I attack with a ski pole, the sharpest tool I have available. After clearing one narrow walkway of ice and snow, I retreat. Perhaps we are meant to stay indoors all winter. Eat, drink and grow fat. Read thick novels with a satisfying romanticism. Look up new recipes for beef stew on the internet. Call your mother. Call your children. "It's your mother. Where ARE you?"

The Ice Queen haunting our streets so early this year is a steely and forbidding spectre, outright nasty and downright vengeful at times, but so lovely one does succumb to her allures ; we go outside even in the most frigid temperatures just to gawk at her beauty. When back indoors in the warmth that's going to cost so much this year, still she calls and irresistibly one takes up a position just on the other side of the big front windows now encased in nearly invisible plastic sheeting, just to gaze upon her wintry wonderland. Her cape snaps behind her in a stiff wind off the lake, and the shoreline ices over in the roughness of waves halted in mid-breaking. There is a giggle and a glitter, and she's gone. It's quiet out there. The silence of a new snowfall is the only silence on earth that holds its own next to the silence of a military graveyard. Silence, I fully believe, comes only in white. Until the next enormous plow, the Queen's ungainly companion and loval mastiff, lumbers down the street, sparks flying. Give your dog a bone.