LOCAL VIEW —A winter’s day—

Sometimes the beauty of the winter landscape overwhelms my grumpiness about the cold, and this was one of those days. After yesterday’s high of 23° (after the morning mini-blizzard) temperatures sagged back down to 5° last night, and barely made it back up to 15° today, so I had plenty to grouch about, but perhaps one gets a little punch-drunk after getting hit in the chin over and over. A midwinter dullness sets in, once all the holidays are done with, and one doesn’t expect any Christmas miracles, or wondrous life-changing New Year’s Resolutions, any more, and perhaps because one is not expecting anything, one is better able to appreciate the small things.

In this sort of cold I spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with fires and firewood, to keep my heating bills down. Today I found myself noticing small things as I split logs, such as the way snow squeaks when trodden upon, when it gets very cold. Or an invasion of pine siskins at the bird feeder. Or the sheer blueness of the sky.

When it gets very cold my goats require more food, just to stay warm, and are far less fussy about the food I serve them. It was sort of nice to be on good relations with them, for a change.

After spending last weekend moving my youngest son back to college I spent part of today helping my oldest son move back to town. I only moved a few boxes, as I was basically making an appearance over at the place he is renting, to show moral support for moving into a place of his own, rather than in with parents. Not that his three children don’t visit a lot, but “family values” have their limits. How am I to write a novel if my house is fully of children and grandchildren?

I soon hurried back to my own home, to get  back to work with my own  chores, because I’m a bit nervous about the low pressure milling about down in the Gulf of Mexico. I wish it would head up to the Great lakes and give us warmth like the Christmas rain, but the January cold seems too heavy to budge so easily, and if the storm comes north further east we’ll get snow rather than rain.  Winter gets less delightful when the snow gets deep.

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I ran about behind the snow-blower at the Childcare, swiftly cleaning off the three inches of snow from yesterday’s mini-blizzard,  with the blower in top gear. The deafening noise temporarily cut me off from the beauty of the day, but one thing I learned from working in noisy factories is that, after such a racket, your hearing is oddly disturbed, and is more like it is super-sensitive than deafened, afterwards. When I went back to stocking up on firewood, nervous about a future storm that may be mere imagination on my part, it seemed the wood was particularly musical, whether I was splitting it or stacking it.

I did go in to check my email, and discovered a couple of nice messages from other churches, regarding their willingness to help our dwindling church during the time we have no preacher. However, as much as I would like to say there was something spiritual about the way I was appreciating the winter’s day, I think the real reason was mundane.

It had to do with the football game later in the day.

I have tried very hard not to pay attention to the New England Patriots this year, as I simply don’t have the time to devote my few remaining brain cells to the business of grown men running about chasing a silly ball. However once again I failed.

After a decade of success it has gotten to the point where the Patriots are detested for being good, in the way the old New York Yankees were detested for being good. I can understand the rest of the nation, for all through my boyhood I detested the New York Yankees. However over the past decade I have started to understand the old Yankee fans of the 1950’s and early 1960’s. One starts to feel extraordinarily lucky, even privileged, to be witnessing the sort of excellence that is hard to find on this corrupted planet. Even though it is darned cold, it seems nearly worthwhile to live in New England.

The morning before a big game there is a sort of electricity in the air. You notice it when you pick a newspaper at the market. I wonder if it might reach a level where even ordinary people sense the “vibrations” psychics claim to sense. The anticipation adds a relish to the winter’s day. Then the traffic picks up just before the game, especially by the local pizza place, and then abruptly the streets are deserted.

In any case, I went over to my brother-in-laws to watch the game. Wow. The Patriots won 35-31, after trailing 14-0, 28-14, and 31-28.

I have not studied weather maps or worked on my novel.  However I do note temperatures have now dropped down near zero (-18° Celsius), and I’d better put wood in the fires.

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