i don’t even need to turn on the news to hear the squawkin’ ’bout the weather. don’t really need to turn to the back page of the newspaper, the one with all the arrows and the polka-dotted map and the adjectives to scare the dickens out of any sorry soul who’s lost her woolen mittens.
all’s i have to do is look to where the sky is turning marbled gray, the color of the pigeons who, right now, are gobbling up all the seed that they can wrestle in their beaks.
or, before the pigeons came, shooshed away the cardinals and the jays and all the sparrows, there was the buzz in the grocery line. you can tell a lot about the day looking at what is rolling down the check-out belt.
today there was not a lot of fuss over, say, artichokes or lamb chops. oh, no, this was a milk-by-the-gallon, and orange-juice-too sort of day.
this is a day to batten down the hatches, simmer soup, crank the oven, stock up on sidewalk salt. you can feel it in the cracklin’ that’s making hairs, and fur, and feathers, too, stand on end. you should see the squirrels vacuum-cleaning crumbs and crusty donut bits, as if there’s no tomorrow.
you see, here where arctic winds hurl their bowling balls of snow and ice down the alley called the great lake of michigan, here before the towers–hancock, sears and all the rest–do their muscled best to block the mighty gusts, we stand ready to shiver and shiver hard, as day turns to dusk turns to stormy whirling night.
worst drop in temps in a quarter century–fiercest, fastest downslide, they are saying–is due to hit any hour now, with winds whipping up to 50 miles an hour (“punishing winds,” my weather page tells me). it’s enough, they warn, to turn rush hour into a hefty bowl of blanc-en-blanc potage.
and i, a girl who loves some drama in my winter doldrums, say bring it on.
there’s nothin’ that gets me stirring quite like the hurl of howling winds. snow pelting on the window panes. the whiff of snow day in the air.
i woulda made one fine pioneer, i tell you. i hunker down, i brace for storm, like i am annie oakley’s long-lost sister.
i caught wind of what was brewing early on today. i made my way straight to the store. stocked up, i did, on milk and popcorn kernels, the two staples of extended hibernation.
before i unzipped my coat, flung my mittens to the pile, i was chopping, sauteing, starting me a toothsome corn-and chicken zoup.
i’ll not let my children starve, not let them shiver either. i’ve got blankets at the ready, and muffins in the oven. oh, lord, this day is a day for making like a mama bear bolting for the cave. we will bathe in what is warm and fortifying. we’ll not let the storm, well, take us by storm.
while stirring onions, beans and broth, i mused a bit about this winter blessing. the forecasting of winds and cold that gives us quite a warning.
what of life, though, i thought, that we don’t know, ever, when a storm is just around our bend.
in plain old life–not the life of weather maps and wind chills–we pick up the phone, and poof, there’s a winter storm on the line. we are driving here or there and, kebang, we just skidded off the road.
life gives no warning, unlike arctic rustlings.
and so, in life, we are left to be always stocked deep down inside with whatever it takes to weather whatever life throws our way. be it a broken neck on growing child. or an email baring threats. one day we think we’re basking in the balm of spring, and, kaboom, the next we are chilled and shaking in our wintry boots.
it is resilience, then, that we must line our inner shelves with. and unswerving faith, stored in gallon jugs, that we need on hand to make sure we can ride out any storm.
i’d say we do best with a host of friends, the ones who appear, as if by blessed magic, at our front door, the hospital bedside, or even as they rush our broken, bloodied child to the ambulance.
we need to live, this makes me think, stocked and ready, for what ever roiling winds come our way.
what a blessing, then, that when it’s merely ice and snow, we’ve got all the warning in the world.
oh, there’s the buzzer now. my muffins–chock full of apples and cranberry and a good dose of mother love–are golden brown, and ready to emerge, just before the winter storm starts swirling out the window.
do you like winter storms, or any brewing, bubbling weather as much as i do? and what would you say is essential to keep in the larder of your life, so you can weather winds that blow far harder, far more fiercely sometimes than any arctic puffer?
Today’s post reminds me of wintry Ohio days, snow days when school was called off and it was an official play day. Those were days when the soup was on, bread was baked, and we’d huddle together in the kitchen, the warmest spot in the house (in more ways than one). I loved those kind of days.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 – 08:05 PM
Oh, how right you are about having a well-stocked inner pantry! Sometimes a storm comes fast and is not serious, but is furious nevertheless: a great big out-of-the-blue tantrum just on the way out the door to school. In the early-morning-haven’t-had-breakfast-we’re-running-late-no-tea-yet-for
-heaven’s-sake-I-forgot-to-brush-my-teeth mad dash that is getting to school every day, do I have the reserves to simply and calmly deal with a little hurricane exploding in my kitchen? I don’t mean to trivialize life’s real storms. It’s just that for me, the things that provoke and challenge me the most happen each day, the tiny small things, little annoyances, little obstinacies, continual contradictions from the little ones I live with which sort of drip drip drip on my forehead like some kind of Chinese water torture. Do I have the reserves, the resources, to deal with these things like the mommy that I must be? Actually, not very often.
I too was out this afternoon stocking up. It was turning into a chicken pot pie day later, I understood. I knew it was coming. This early evening I went to a meeting at school–it was light coat weather yet; that forty degree drop hadn’t happened–and when I came out all was a whirling blizzard. Sideways snow. Icy ground. Billowing sheets of white surrounding the car. Car thermometer read 18 degrees and dropping. It really, really came out of nowhere, it came fast. But it came, expected! I suppose no different, really, than all those tantrums, all those defiances, all those “testing” behaviors we mommies get now and again. I know they’re coming. I need to be ready, to stay ready.
It’s easy to stock up for chicken pot pie, for muffins, for hot chocolate. How do I stock up that interior pantry?
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 – 10:29 PM
how to stock up? …pray…pray…pray…
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 – 07:18 AM
wow, i am glad i had clothes in all departments yesterday. In the morning I ran in shorts and a long-sleeve shirt. By afternoon my cozy down jacket was drenched as I ran from car to the bookstore. Later, my down comforter, a book in hand and a mug of tea on the nightstand provided much respite from all the climates I encountered in 24 hrs.
Just as much as we can’t tell when an inner storm will occur, I am grateful for the moments that sun-breaks and rainbows surprise me on the grayest of days.
As the winds blew the snow in horizontal pathways outside of my window on Tuesday night, I was talking to my beloved mother. She was in front of her fireplace in Northern Minnesota and she had just received news that she would not need to go to work on Wed., as the public schools would be closed for the day. Yes, a storm was a brewing and it was dangerous, but there was a bit of grace in the invitation to stay put for a day
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 – 08:18 AM
ahhhh, jcv, someone just recently asked me when my breath was taken away, when i knew that this table was more than i’d dreamed it would be, and the answer comes on moments like the one above. when you, or someone like you, takes the place i aim for and sends it somewhere higher. yes, there are storms, big ones, that catch us unawares. but what of daily ones, the ones that trip us up in the littleness of our lives, and depending upon on how we mount them, or how we fall under the weight of them, make us feel so very empty, or gives us a hint that there might, after all, be something there in the larder.
you write with poignant honesty, and truth. and, always, poetry. yes, it is the drip drip drip that is so torturous. and yes, i think it is the going out, the getting out the door, and into bed–the interludes of every day that demand, yes demand, the getting from point A to Z–that tug and tear so often at tranquility. what is it with that grownup voice that doesn’t often allow us to sink into the rhythms of a little child who likes to wiggle here and there, offer up excuses, propositions and, yes, demands, to alter the course of where we think we’re headed? i remember hearing myself, long ago, shouting at a little 3-year-old for being late for pre-school. that’s what stopped me in my tracks, made me think, am i NUTS? who is the crazy person here who thinks the world begins and ends with getting out the door on time? i send up motherprayers today, for you and me and all the rest, that somehow in the trenches we can lift our heads and find the deepest well that soothes our ragged nerves and gives us patience, and good humor to not be felled by four year olds and three year olds and six year olds and 14 year olds, as well……
and yes, slj, thank heaven for rainbows that come as unexpectedly as some storms……and pjv, who knew the arizona mountains could be so mean?
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 – 10:38 AM
woops. turns out i was thinking of an e from pjv in which she mentioned how the roads had turned to ice up in them there arizona mountains. it’s the darn fact that you can’t see the comments when commenting on the comments. you remember things all twisty sometimes like just before, when i was thinking pjv wrote about arizona, when really it was ohio she was remembering. which sounds all cozy, even when it snowed outside……
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 – 11:41 AM
Thanks for the inspiration, dear bam … as the snow flurries outside, a big pot of broccoli cheese chowder bubbles on the back burner … we’re warmer already.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 – 02:59 PM
i think our storm came in two chapters. chapter one was cold, and not so very much fun. chapter two came last night and this morn, in miles and miles and piles and piles of snow. the phone calls came from schools at 5:30 and then 6:30: snow day! no one had anywhere to go. so we made waffles. ogled at the snow mounds. and only one of us so far has ventured out to play. my idea of heaven, all right…..
Friday, February 1, 2008 – 03:05 PM