I am trying to find something tranquil about this season. I am having miserably bad luck. I read the posts that enchant me with descriptions of a quiet, frozen landscape, trees rimed with fluffy white snow, crystal icicles hanging from the roof, and everyone inside and safe and cozy and warm. So, I should be able to come up with something. According to my yoga teacher, I am capable of it just by reaching down inside myself. Frankly I have not had time to do so.
It is the 2nd of February, but I turned the page of my calendar a couple of days early and have found out from my Facebook Friends that I am not alone in kicking January to the curb. Actually my January started on December 27th when both of my parents, who'd had uncomfortable throats (and in my mother's case, a cough) at Christmas, required a trip to the local Emergency Clinic. It could not have been a worse day to go out, with 40 mph winds and an air temp in the 20s, making it feel well below zero.
We were there for six hours, which was quite trying, but I have to say the personnel were extremely thorough. Each of them had strep tests and chest x-rays and my mom had some blood drawn, as well as an IV fluid treatment since she was dehydrated. (She does not like to drink fluids because then it makes her have to pee, and because she has trouble walking she would rather remain sitting than keep getting up. I get her point.)
Turns out Dad was positive for strep throat and mom had a virulent case of bronchitis. As days went by Dad got better but I swear you could hear the Atlantic Ocean sloshing around in Mom's chest. Finally, she got better too. In the interim I myself got strep throat and bronchitis. My parents are very generous people.
We have had more delightful weather too. White-out snow storms and accumulations up to 2 feet. Single-digit temps prevent the snow from melting, and all around the state there are tales of roofs collapsing from the weight of it -- and not necessarily all flat roofs. Sadly, horses and cows have been killed when barns caved in. In my own town our Community Center got quashed when the walls buckled. I felt bad...I had a lot of good memories of that building; I took tai chi classes and basket-making with my aunt there, and taught a course in macrame; I brought my nephew there for Cub Scout meetings on the bottom floor; I'd been to Christmas parties and showers when it was rented out; the Senior Agent and I put together a nice sitting area in one big room complete with comfortable furniture, a TV, lace drapes and paintings on the wall; and I'd attended a heated Town Meeting on the subject of how to deal humanely with beavers who were building dams and flooding some roads.
But try and find a roof rake or someone to come clear the snow from the flat areas and charge an affordable rate. I've had to climb out my bedroom window twice this year and shovel the snow off the roof above the patio. (Last time I did it I was out there in my nightgown, winter jacket, clogs without socks and white gloves that made me feel like a mime, confident no one would see me because it's the back of the house, when I heard a voice yell "Having fun?" You know, my tenants' 17-year-old daughter had to use the back door that day, didn't she? It's not like they don't know I'm eccentric, I just wasn't sure I wanted them to know I was THAT eccentric.)
Part of our house, including a section that's over the tenants' dining room, is in fact flat as a pancake. I improvised. I took my father's pole saw, extended it, duct-taped a garden hoe to it and between my brother and I, we got it done. Necessity is the mother of invention. The fact that I had to plow through snow slightly deeper than thigh-high to get to my ladder, well, no, we aren't having fun. Nope, not in the least.
And did I mention that both mom and dad managed to relapse? I do not mean to make light of a serious situation, but until you've seen both parents sitting in a small room with only socks and shoes and their johnny coats on, you ain't lived. Unfortunately my cell phone doesn't take pictures and I didn't have my camera with me. Oh well. This time it wasn't quite as long a time at the Clinic, but mom went by ambulance to the hospital that night, her breathing was so bad. She's home now and better, but not bigtime better and has a plethora of nurses, therapists and phlebotomists (never did I think I would ever write a piece that would encompass the word "phlebotomists") coming in and out of the house.
There is very little tranquility around me right at the moment. There are plenty of salt crystals from ice-melt tracked in from outside; there are wet coats, gloves and scarves draped on every standing surface; there are mind-blowing icicles, frozen slush and I hear it: a drip somewhere. And on top of this, Channel 8, WTNH (New Haven), suddenly let go my favorite weatherman, Geoff Fox, who's been there 26 years. If you think a change in weather forecasters is not a big deal, go to this group on Facebook. Go to Geoff's blog and see what people are writing there in support of him. Two Connecticut senators have called to empathize with and encourage him! Geoff is way more than just a weather nerd, he is family here in Connecticut. He is an icon. Goofy and brilliant all at the same time. Brian Austin Green joined the Facebook group, for pete's sake! So it's down in the dumps for the lot of us.
There is only one consolation. The weather is so frigging awful that there is no way the groundhog could see his shadow, anywhere around these parts. So that's a prediction for an early spring. That's Tranquility Base.