Monday, December 20, 2010

12.15 Closed for Winter


Shut down. I contemplate (through a window) the garden. No greening urge manifests.
Was December always like this? The cold is colder than it used to be. I look at the numbers on the thermometer, thirty, twenty-something, and I feel worse than I think I used to when I experienced those numbers. Clearly, you have to make your peace with a little cold weather. When I feel shocked by it, instead of prepared for it, or gradually accustomed to it – acclimatized (there’s a word) – or whatever I imagine I used to feel, I think something’s wrong.
Follow the Tao of the seasons, I tell myself. When it’s too cold to be out of doors, crawl down into some low, warm place and huddle in your furs. Maybe keep a couple of large, warm-blooded animals around for additional body heat. Hopefully, the food stores are in, because you eat a lot between bouts of unconsciousness. Most of your food intake goes to fueling your body temperature.
Does winter cold always come this quickly? This absolutely?
I have assumed that perennial plants like deciduous trees go down to their roots to the vital spirit alive and survive the winter. But the ground itself got hard in a hurry this year. Do the roots get down deep enough to feel the earth beneath the crusted layers? What part of them stays alive, to receive the signals of warming earth and lengthening light next spring?
What are the winter dreams of plants?
Frigid, windy nights are punishing. It’s a struggle to stay outdoors long enough to put the garbage out.
The next morning the garbage man picks up the newspaper barrel, bangs it repeatedly against the jaw of the refuse truck to loosen and tumble out the contents, succeeds also in loosening the layer of ice on the barrel’s bottom, and then tosses it to land upside down on the pavement.
A couple hours later when I go outside to retrieve it, putting on my winter parka even for so momentary a chore, I can’t move the face-down barrel. It’s frozen to the pavement. I have to kick it a few times to loosen it. The glacial bits that crack and fall out of the barrel remain frozen days later on the street.
It’s only December. Winter doesn’t even begin until next week.

Stuck Up

Barrel upside down
Pavement locked by lips of ice
What dreams hide inside?