winter

wintering

There’s a drag that comes from lack of sunlight. That’s for real, and the lure of sleeping in on a winter morning is a real temptation.

I’m not a morning person. We know who we are. Years ago, I was in a carpool with a woman who was a morning person. I’m not sure she ever stopped talking for the entire ride into work. It worked out fine. She didn’t seem to mind that no one responded. Other than her and the driver, everyone else in the car was asleep.

This is how it works with me. I open my eyes, and even before the sleep fog clears, a whole litany of unwelcome thoughts line up for attention. Really…can’t I just get some coffee or OJ?

The thought that wakes us at 3 am feels like a heart-thumping immediate crisis. What if there’s a new killer COVID variant? At 8 am, it’s not quite as dramatic, more like a mental listing of every conceivable worry and bad outcome I might need to deal with that day, or anytime in the next six months, or the next six years.

So how does this relate to winter? In the winter, I wake and the sun’s shining through the shades, or it’s not, and either way it’s something to be happy about. Well, maybe not happy, but relieved. It’s something like the winter clause. I have good reason, loosely based on science or nature, to postpone, to hesitate, or to give in. To succumb, to hold back, put off, delay, and dispense, everything I don’t want to deal with, in effect and with great affection, on the pretext that it’s winter.

Bob Dylan

white pines & music

Tall white pines and a path that takes you. It doesn’t lead you, it takes you.

Do you know the long soft needles of a tall white pine? A pine tall enough to meet the sunny sky in the last moments of a December day. North Country meets Norwegian Wood meets what? I don’t know. It’s gentle. Or it’s pain, or it’s a place to leave behind.

When you choose your favorite lyrics to a Dylan song, it’s hard to find THE lines. I have this thing – sort of a pretty unimportant guiding principle. If I single out the same musical lyrics more than once, if it’s a sequence of lines or a few words, if those are the words I remember or I want to remember after I hear a song, then I guess I love those words.

In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day

Bob Dylan works a magic with images nobody else can do. And in the middle of all that you find words you plainly love.

2021, life, pandemic

inertia

A year in pandemic is a bit like a long afternoon on the front porch. The same kind of boredom, but without the pleasant sense of relaxing. The same kind of inertia, but without the sweet breeze playing at the hair on the back of your head.

After months and months, the possibility you’ll come up with some motivation to think, oh yeah, that’s what I want to do…that possibility’s remote. It’s more like, let’s see, you ought to get up and clean out a couple of drawers. The other day I found a dollar bill in an old purse I hadn’t used in years. There was a spark of excitement, sort of delight, that lasted about one minute. Maybe I hoped it was a twenty dollar bill. At least a five.