We survived the Idaho passes to and from Spokane, and made it safely home. Arriving back to the lake, from the west shore, it looked like it was covered in ice all the way across, and a little village of ice fishermen had made camp out in Somers Bay. But, on our side, it was open water as usual, and another six to eight inches of new snow had fallen at the house. The plow has been generally keeping up, which is a good thing, with more snow forecasted the rest of this week, and the next. I put on my tall Sorel boots, grabbed a ski pole, and made a path down to the water. The snow was deep enough to come over the top of knee-high boots, and the kitties were not the least bit interested to follow me in my path. There were deer tracks out to the end of the dock, and I thought how they probably do what I do–walk out and survey the lake from north to south, trying to remember warm summer days.
Alas. Winter it still is, so best get on with it. I did a little painting up in the dormitory room where I keep my easel. I listened to music, and watched out the dormer window as a flock of coots bobbed in the water, and I could see waves creating ice at the shoreline. There is no slow time like this in the high-energy days of summer, when the rooms upstairs are filled with kids, screen doors are banging, and light remains in the pink sky until 11 p.m. So, best get on with winter’s quiet and lumbering pace, the books to be read, and the long nights of sleep.
When I’m snowbound, I do my best to keep from being sucked into the bottomless pit of the internet, as I wonder what’s happening out in the world while I’m sheltering in place. But, I heard on the NPR mid-day news that NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity has been officially declared dead. I went to the web news sites, and everybody had that headline. “Our beloved Opportunity remained silent” reported the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. That amazing little rover was only supposed to work for 90 days, but over 14 years, it beamed down photos and data which changed forever how scientists understand the planets. Last spring, it succumbed to a fatal dust storm. As the Washington Post wrote:
The spacecraft had survived such storms before. But at more than 14 years old, it was no longer as hardy as it had once been. A fault in one of Opportunity’s memory banks resulted in loss of all long-term memory. Problems with the rover’s wheels and robotic arm looked like spacecraft arthritis. If Opportunity experienced another prolonged power loss, it might not recover so easily.
At my age, I understand this notion of the wheels falling off the bus, so I’m trying to just be here, on this slow winter’s day, as heavy snow falls outside. As David Steindl-Rast writes:
“So you think this is just another day in your life? It’s not just another day. It is the one day that is given to you…today.”