Sunday, February 23, 2014

pea picklin’ home, snow, cold, and love

This week spring came to the U.P. with temperatures in the 40s, considerable sunshine, clear roads, softening snow, then a blizzard with considerable wind, blowing snow, drifting snow, plunging temperatures.

One morning.

But it’s a little early to be making jokes about spring. Everyone here, as far as I can tell, is weary of cold and snow and frozen water pipes. Whole towns have been told to leave the water on so the water mains won’t freeze and pop. I saw one story about people hooking up garden hoses to get water from one house to another. And all the wildlife seems to have disappeared. When I strapped on my snowshoes and walked to the river, I saw no tracks of deer or mice or coyote or anyone. Except for chickadees, no one was about.

God bless those chickadees.

Just for fun, here are the high/low temperatures predicted for tomorrow through Saturday, March 1:

15/1, 8/-9, 9/-8, -1/-15, 2/-12, 5/-5.

Somewhere in there is poetry.

Another morning.

But enough with the weather! Let’s talk about love. For I am in love, and I’ve decided to relish it (despite knowing the harsh roads love can follow) and to believe in it (despite it’s magic ability not to be what it appears to be) and, moreover, to declare it (pure folly, I know). Somehow, this weather (which I guess we can’t get enough of, after all), with it’s ups and downs and beauty and crankiness, reminds me of love (maybe because when you are in love everything reminds you of love). But isn’t that what love is? A little craziness? A little bliss? A little angst? A little this, a little that? I’ve been there before, I should know, though I’m sure I don’t.

Still, I think I know love when I feel it.

To be in love, at my age, perhaps at any age, feels a little awkward. But it also feels damn good. And, it feels a bit risky, even while feeling safe and warm. Certainly it feels improbable, but, on the other hand, it feels as if it were meant to be. It feels, in many ways, ludicrous. But it also feels sane and normal, bordering, even, on matter-of-fact. Since I have been in love before, there is this feeling of familiarity, but since I’ve never loved this particular person before, it feels quite surprising and different. And somewhere beyond all this yin and yang as well as between all this yin and yang, it just feels nice.

Yes, Gomer, it feels real nice.



A week ago, last Saturday, it didn’t feel so nice. I was on the last leg of the cross-country trip, driving north through Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Michigan, home. The familiarity of winter and towering trees and banks of snow closed in; roads became slower, grittier, more challenging. By early afternoon, I was out of snacks (!) and when I stopped for gas in Ironwood I decided I needed food. I cruised the convenience mart and got sucked in by a display of Little Debbie mini donuts in wax-paper sacks on sale for two for $3, regularly $1.99 each. What a deal. I chose the powdered donuts over the chocolate-covered (I wanted only one sack), and took my find to the check-out counter where I had to wait because the clerk was doing something else. Other than her, I was the only one in the store. When she finished her task, she rang me up. $1.99. I said: “So you only get the deal if you buy two.” She said: “Yup.” I took my $1.99 sack of mini donuts back to the van, drove the wrong way for about a half hour, finished all but three of the donuts, felt miserable. I was almost home and far away from the one I love.

So he lives in a desert. Go figure.

Yes. The desert.

If you’re lucky, misery does not stay but rather comes and goes, and I am lucky. Plus, I recovered from the donuts. And even though I’ve gone on about it here, I feel fairly sure that I do not know what love is, for it seems to me it can be so many things and then also can be so changeable—yet still I am sure of the feeling of love, and I have little doubt that it is love that has guided my life, most of it, anyway, and for that I am lucky, too.

So winter carries on, snow falls, wind blows, the temperature is five degrees, and now I am in love with a man who brings to my life experiences and thoughts and people and things that kind of fill in some empty spaces and that draw me to new places, too, and for that I am grateful. And the fact that he’s got the cutest, feistiest little dog you’ve ever seen, well, seriously folks, that has nothing to do with it. (But I miss you, Finn, and Elliott says he misses you, too, but he may be joking because he’s flexing his claws as we speak.)

Now, how this man or this dog may feel about me is strictly their business. After all, this is just my story.