The sky is low, the clouds are mean, A travelling flake ofsnow Across a barn or through a rut Debates if it will go.
A narrow wind complains all day How some one treated him; Nature, like us, is sometimes caught Without her diadem.–Emily Dickinson
I looked up diadem–its definition is crown. I think this poem means that even Nature has bad moods in the month of January. The roads have been ice in the morning, and pure slop by afternoon, and I’ve used an entire gallon of window washer liquid by the end of the day. I rarely complain seriously about winter until February, but, lately, I feel like I am the wind, which ‘complains all day’. Just as I was growing weary of these mean cloud days, we are now under an inversion with freezing fog, forecasted as far out as NOAA’s predictions go. There will be no clouds in the sky, only cold fog.
There’s much to be grumpy about in the news. I have family members who are federal employees, and we all have family members who made the long journey to America, carrying only hope on their backs. I should probably take a news break, but I feel like I’m driving my car passed a terrible accident, and I can’t look away from the ambulance with the stretcher. I avoid the gut-wrenching news reports of kidnapping, murder and mayhem, but, in January, sometimes the fragility and vulnerability of life creeps in and out of the fog. Valerie sent me a copy of the message she found on her neighbors’ car just a few days ago. “The owner of this car has been in a serious accident and we cannot locate the keys to move it so please don’t ticket it.” Shortly after we had left California, the couple next door were hit by a car, walking in the same intersection Norah crosses every day on her way to school. The parents are both still in the ICU, intubated. Their 17-year old daughter put the message on her Mom’s car on street-cleaning day. Winter always has days in which it feels like the wolf is at the door.
In my cozy house in a forest, by the water, I bring in wood for the fire, light the candles, and close the lace curtains against the dark night, grateful for the day I’ve been given, and that all my loved ones are safe. Whatever the weather.
by Faith Shearin
There is weather on the day you are born and weather on the day you die. There is the year of drought, and the year of floods, when everything rises and swells, the year when winter will not stop falling, and the year when summer lightning burns the prairie, makes it disappear. There are the weathervanes, dizzy on top of farmhouses, hurricanes curled like cats on a map of sky: there are cows under the trees outlined in flies. There is the weather that blows a stranger into town and the weather that changes suddenly: an argument, a sickness, a baby born too soon. Crops fail and a field becomes a study in hunger; storm clouds billow over the sea; tornadoes appear like the drunk trunks of elephants. People talking about weather are people who don’t know what to say and yet the weather is what happens to all of us: the blizzard that makes our neighborhoods strange, the flood that carries away our plans. We are getting ready for the weather, or cleaning up after the weather, or enduring the weather. We are drenched in rain or sweat: we are looking for an umbrella, a second mitten; we are gathering wood to build a fire.