Saturday, January 15, 2011

just past midnight, in the heart of january, and i'm up late having finished a novel and unable to sleep for some reason. it wasn't too cold out but kind of bleak of sky; i walked home anyway and that was good; the kids went down easily & left me to my well-written crime novel which kind of carried me into this blank space of silent house, chilled out night. the break is over; i know there are things i've left totally undone; only some of them i can put my finger on; the others are in disorganized piles strewn here & there. the window wrapping, for example; i could wrap more windows, and insulate well, but we may have what, one more cold spell maybe? then it's time to plant the garden, and the days are already getting longer, the sun peeking out as i wake up sometimes in the morning.

some things about january are traditional or at least expected: a door handle on the car that snaps off when i pull it hard because i think it's frozen; salt making its blotchy pale stain on the streets and walks; litter strewn in the yards and bushes that stays there so long, because nobody ambles around in the cold to pick it up. i walk by this stuff, my collar up, my hands deep in my pockets or in gloves, and i don't slow down once, all the way home. the television and the nintendos entrance the children with round-the-clock spongebobs or icarlys, or mario games or ninja turtles, but i curl up with them a little anyway, because it's cold out and i also am brain-dead from a long day at school. actually i only had an orientation, it was sit around and act serious but do nothing for a while; i should have been able to handle it, but it was tough anyway, after a three week break. thank god it's friday, i told everyone, but i start in serious on tuesday, when a new term starts and dozens of new faces come streaming in. the boys were sweet, too tired to put up a fight.

somebody at work pointed out that the arizona killer was obsessed by grammar, and that that came up repeatedly in his home-made videos and rants; i guess this is true, and it seemed to be that way when i went back & read a bit about it, but i can only take so much of thinking about this guy, and will be glad to some degree when i'm not actually reading so much of the news, but rather just getting people to say their own mundane things with normal, straight grammar. meanwhile here of course i use whatever i want, and don't even capitalize, ever, but i make myself comfortable with words and structures and expressions, so that on some level i have more places to go, more ways to get there. it's good to know the streets and the shortcuts, even if you're not in the militia, or believe that everyone's out to get you. for one thing, all the good mulberry trees are off the main roads.

some places where you step are frozen right over especially in the shade; you have to walk with a certain balance and it's possible to lose it right there on some sidewalk that never got salted. as opposed to king day, and vacation with no money, or worry about debts & cars & taxes & bills, or getting back in to the grind, this is what january is: that moment on the ice, trying to get somewhere on a snowy patch with no traction, a bitter wind at your back, and the possibility that it could get colder before it gets warmer. up north they had what was called a january thaw, and it came actually at the end of january, but the word thaw was said with a sense of irony, because it would go from maybe ten below for two weeks, to maybe ten above, and that would feel warm, and people would go outside more. here we're always drifting in and out of freezing, you never know if you're coming or going, but it always feels cold, always feels like something worse is coming from where that came from. though half the time, it's an empty worry; it's really just nothing, but more wind, and sometimes geese overhead, getting confused, and wondering which way to fly.


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