Sure, I could be walking down this snowy, quiet and picturesque road. I could be thinking about the approaching holidays, the snow men, the fire in our downstairs living room wood burner…but I don’t imagine I’ll be making this walk. Don’t get me wrong, I love snow. I always have. But as I stand in the middle of this road to take the photo, I can feel my lower back aching from the shoveling I already did twice today. And now my left knee hurts. What’s that all about?
It’s Monday afternoon. On Saturday afternoon, I was on our roof in a tee-shirt and a leaf-blower and a pair of ear protectors (they look like high-end Bose earphones). I couldn’t hear a thing. The only way I knew the blower was ON was to watch the twigs, pine needles and wet leaves fly away…away to the back deck and the front porch. This would require another half-hour of leaf blowing. I stood on the roof like the Colossus of Rhodes…like Paul Bunyan. I looked down at my wife whose job it was to help keep the extension cords from kinking up. She was saying something to me. I couldn’t hear a thing. She could have been saying “the house is on fire and I just called 911” or she could be saying “I need to go to the bathroom”.
That was just this past Saturday. On Sunday, it began to snow. It’s 5:30 pm on Monday as I write this and it’s still snowing.
That’s a quick transition from late fall cleaning to mid-winter torture.
Take a look at the next two photos. The top one was taken an hour or so ago. The next one was taken a year ago almost to the day (give or take a week or so). Which photo shows a happy contented 69-year-old guy? Which one depicts a senior citizen who is cursing the weather gods and feeling his lower back going south?
Trust me. Both photos are of the same man.
No, I don’t think I’ll take a walk in a winter wonderland. Instead, I’ll pour a glass of Cabernet and watch the darkness descend on the view toward the lake. I’ll think of how quick things change. How you’re young one minute and lost in late middle age the next. How your friends are laughing and loving and talking and dancing one minute…and then their heart stops the next. I’m not being morose here…I’m still grieving my childhood buddy, Jimmy Merrill, who passed away last Thursday.
Old friends, old loves…and memories. I’m Irish so I tend to dwell on these things.
A little dose of melancholy falls into everyone’s lives. It’s not a bad thing. I just have to keep my eye on the future and the fact that there will be a day when the snow will melt and the crocus and the Lady Slippers will grow beneath the ferns and color will return to the world. It’s so monochromatic right now. But, that’s to be expected.
Another month must pass before the days begin to get longer.