Saturday, February 16, 2008

it started monday afternoon, big globs of wet snow landing and freezing at the same time, making walking and driving difficult. some schools saw it coming and started letting people out at noon, not knowing they would be out an entire week in some cases, more if you count the president's day holiday this coming monday. letting kids out of school early is a little hard on the parents, actually causing extra driving, in very bad conditions, with most precious cargo, but that was going to be the way of it for an entire week. an icy glaze covered everything, especially trees, caused some trees to fall, caused power to be out, for four, eight, ten hours or in some cases days; we were lucky in this regard, and had power straight through. Everyone got tuesday off, lincoln's birthday, and darwin's birthday, an icy glazy day where everyone was implored to just stay home, don't even try. but siu got back on wednesday- unfortunately it hadn't gotten much better, so the elementary and high schools were still out.

exchanging kids- taking them around to friends' houses, coming home to watch them, took over parts of days, afternoons, lots of time, lots of coffee, grading done late at night. thursday still out of school, though the little guy, the 2-yr.-old, had daycare, and parking and getting up the walk in any given location was demanding. kids are close to the ground, and don't do much damage when they fall- to them it's a wild and beautiful icy world, fun to experiment in, and no school is kind of a bonanza for the six-year-old, who is old enough to know that he's getting a free break, ice & snow being fun. on one of those days it warmed up a little, and a gentle wind blew a lot of ice down from the trees which landed like broken chandelier pieces on the sidewalk, tinkling and making people protect their heads with their arms as they walked. but that night, as it finally had thawed a little in the afternoon, it refroze, and there was an even glazier glaze on everything; walking out my front door, a slight hill down to the street was such solid ice i could do nothing but slide down to get the newspaper. this was the slickest day, yet now school was on almost everywhere, and life was going back to its usual. people had to get groceries, do business, etc., and got out whether there was ice or snow or whatever. big limbs of trees sat around on glazed ice, having fallen days ago and not being moved; big piles of snow were now big piles of snow covered with ice.

spirituality is not carrying a huge burden forever, like atlas, or poking through the clouds, like a 747 on its way to philadelphia. it's noticing the details, keeping one's balance, getting safe passage across an icy patch, so that one can keep going forward, keep on keeping on. the six-year-old routinely steps on anything in his path, just to test his balance, just to see whether he can stand, successfully, on a playskool popcorn-popper, a fallen ladle, or an abandoned package-box. he does this just for fun, just for adventure, just to live dangerously, just to test his balance, and i never do any of this anymore, it's all i can do just to go where i have to. and, since my ladder accident, i've cast a wary eye at life's hazards, tried to keep my kids away from them. but you can't, every minute, today on the way from art class to swimming he strayed over to a patch of ice, slipped and down he went, scraped his knee. this is nothing but a mark, a mini-lesson, to a six-year-old, though it may still hurt him now, twelve hours later. tonight, more rain, which, it being right around the freezing point, could make another glazy mess by morning. but i'm safe at home now, don't have to go anywhere in the morning if i'm socked in, we got our internet connection back, got enough food to get by for a day or two. would like another ten or twenty hours to get caught up on stuff, get a little ahead on life, but instead, i'll have another icy path, maybe right out the door, with no traction, a hazard with no notice. that's the deal you make with the midwest- life is good, life is calm, life is affordable, people are nice, but anything can happen any time, with the weather, one year you're planting tomatoes on valentine's day, another year you're wondering what happened to that groundhog. you're thinking you're almost in the clear, now there's wicked rocksalt on every step, a black bleachy garish ghosty stain, but another place is a big wide hockey rink, strong enough to hold you and whatever you drive over it. bridge freezes before road surface, patches of treachery reach out and grab people, though it only really hurts if you're brittle, or if you're in a car, or some such thing. either way, the transitory character of a place to step- it could define the whole winter, if i'm not careful.


Blogger J-Funk said...

wow what an adventure! The midwest has been hit hard over and over this year - I've never heard of so many university school closings as there have been this year. Hope life gets back to normal soon. Spring is coming!!

12:25 PM  

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