21 December 2008

Jack Frost Nipping

Yep, it has been a while, but hey I am a clergyman and this is advent. That and we had two giant snow snowstorms in 48 hours. The driveway gets plowed but everything else is my job. Walls of snow two feet high surround my driveway, sidewalk and steps. Did I mention the high winds and the bitter cold today? A third of the churches in town cancelled services, but we plowed through and it was very good. So were the cookies afterward. I read the fourth ‘stave’ of Dickens’ famous novella aloud after services. That was truly fun.

Strong weather makes you pay attention to things, doesn’t it? Walking to the gym last week was hard with slippery and icy streets and wind and cold. What struck me was the river. I cross it every day on my way to and from. This week I saw sheets of ice. Not floes and chunks, sheets as in sheets of paper. They were sort of rectangular in fact, and traveled in clumps of three or four. The river looked like a messy office floor, only it was brown and liquid. On the shore of the river was just forming ice along the embankment. Ducks swam close by as the current was fast from a rainstorm we had last Sunday night, our last bit of autumn I think for some time.

My fingers hurt a lot now, from Reynaud’s phenomenon. I think of it as a mid life gift from my mother. I can remember being young, in my twenties that is, when I spent a winter in Vermont with my folks, and how I could walk about easily in the cold. If it was sunny and in the 20s I barely needed a hat. Now I need a hat, two pair of gloves, parka, scarf, and still I feel cold and fingers throb. My son however goes out in a jacket and little else.

As you might imagine, I do not look forward spending my dotage here. And yet, forgive me Floridians, the idea of Florida is equally unattractive. I have lived a peripatetic life, which now begins to haunt me a bit as I have no sense of belonging somewhere so strong that it overcomes the challenge of hard winters or hot summers. The closest may be Maryland, which I left eagerly almost forty years ago, having grown up in what seemed to me its cloistered culture. I longed for real places with names people knew and respected. This past year its abundant supply of relatives and the studded landscape of memory began to look mighty nice.

That and the milder winters of course.

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