The Random of Winter


It’s going to be over fifty degrees in New England today. Last week is a blur and the Iowa caucuses will be held tonight in much colder weather than the balmy experiences we are having here. Yesterday afforded the chance to rake a few leaves, pick up a few sticks and hope the garden won’t wake up too early. Now, as we cross the harbor on this train, the slice of sun in the Eastern sky is about to pierce the grey gloom of early morning light.

I wanted to write after the on-the-marsh dog walk a few days ago, about the creepy bird noise heard in the meadow or the surprisingly loud boom of an ice sheave heaving over one of the rivulets on the plain. As sometimes happens in the random of winter, however, this writing didn’t happen: after the marsh it was a day of stops for an annual physical, a fluid stop and drop for routine lab work, a day of talks on coming and present climate change, an evening chat of our catechists strategizing about the brood we tend. And suddenly, more life had passed: the long surgery on a friend; the Star Wars movie seen; cleaning the over-the-top spots of the homestead; laundry and bills sandwiched in-between.

Mild days in the random of winter kiss us with the promise that of course sustained warmth and new growth will once more present a plentitude of outdoor chores. The air, like today, will lighten. We’ll emerge from the extra clothes we know we haven’t really needed all that much thus far but keep at-the-ready, just in case. February is a short month, however, and perhaps there is no need to hurry or worry. We’ll get there in good time, one day at a time.

By the way, the book[i] in my bag today is a great find. The author’s a master of internal rhyme.


[i]Padel, Ruth. Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth. London: Chatto & Windus, 2014


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