It is quiet, and all the city’s a snow globe this bright morning

I’ve been given a snow day from work on account of this storm (referred to by meteorologists as a Bombogenesis, Bomb Cylone, and Winter Storm Greyson). It has settled in Brooklyn in the form of a persistent and blanketing snowfall out the window all morning, and not a soul around.

It inspired me to make this little animation from my ink drawings back in October. And now I’ll try to get some work done.

The book featuring these and other drawings can be found at Lulu.com.

The music is Autumn in New York, by the Bill Charlap Trio. So good.

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Within an hour of waking, the sun has gladdened the windowpanes

ink sketch of a fence and field, trees in the distance

I stayed home last night; missed several parties, missed toasting with friends who I’ve not seen enough of. A head cold has been slinking ‘round the door for a few days (probably a few weeks), and by Midnight it’d overtaken me. I didn’t have any the past two winters, but I’ve been burning candles at both ends lately, so I can’t be too surprised or upset.

Despite feeling poorly, it’s not a bad thing to cross the threshold of a new year quietly and in solitude. I did this little drawing to mark the changing of the guard. (I added the snow on a whim, though clearly those aren’t winter trees, all clad in leaves.)

I’d hoped for a cold-bright wander on New Year’s Day, but that’ll have to wait for better health. Glad tidings, with a few sniffles! I’ll see what I can make of it. More drawing, whether for me or my freelance project, will make a fine start of things for 2018.

Our hopes such as they are, invisible before us, untouched and still possible*

black and white photograph of sun coming through tree branches

Returned from the snow farm for the last few days of the year’s closing book. Serene here, too— quiet and white-blanketed. Few people are on the sidewalks, chilled and brittle. The emptiness of the playground today: a witness to the mercury, its height diminished despite bright sun.

And here we meet our fabricated bookends for time, believing we can hold or control it; we note it and name it to preserve the illusion. All is change, even the end of things, like the dying year to be replaced or born anew this midnight. Supplanted by new hopes, optimism in the dark corner of the year. Rebirth, Springtide: a crocus fighting her way up through a crust of snow.

Her bloom and demise are written in the maths that make her. Only we personify it, make a mirror of her. We with our imagined souls are infinitely fragile. So we make of her a beacon.

We’ll wait for her in the darkness yet to come. We’ll look for her as we burn through the woodpile, stacked under the eaves last fall. And as we watch the icicles melt, painting the days toothless, mild, and green again.

black and white photograph of a farm house in a snowy fieldblack and white photograph of a barn an silo on a snowy hillblack and white photograph of a large oak branch and a silo on a hill in the distance

*from the poem ”To the New Year” by W. S. Merwin

The water pipes upstairs froze overnight

photo of the garden and field under snowIt’s double-quilt weather and icy lashes weather as the wind stings saltwater rills from our eyes. Shoulders hunched, we retreat into our hoods like sheltering caves.

Convolutions and subtext slip away like shingles from a roof during high winds. Faced with the elemental force of cold, our needs simplify. Just as hunger renders food delicious merely by filling a need, warmth does same after a spell of shivers; muscles convulsing in their toil of keeping the blood from slowing in our veins.

The simplification is good. Makes us thankful for the ease of milder days. Which at length leads to contemplation; to philosophical meanderings and resolutions. We will never take anything for granted again!

But we tend to be creatures of reaction more than of action. So, always the ebb and flow: seasons without, seasons within.

We will be relieved when the plumbing returns. In the meantime, we recognize the relative ease of most days. We hope the pipes hold and do not burst. And we wait for things to thaw, to soften even a little, in their intensity.

The crust of snow renders the clear sun blinding

Black and white photo of winter branchesThe barn cats, huddled and hungry, have not ventured forth to beg in the dooryard today. The stalwart horses, shaggy in their winter coats and snugged in blankets, have chosen to remain in the shelter of their run-in stalls— those hard-wired grazers who prefer to spend days in search of remaining blades of green beneath the snow.

Even Wolf, of Siberian ancestry —built for the inhospitable, the brittle— ventured out in the morning, but resigned to coil himself in a windless corner of the porch rather than roam the fields as he usually does..

The frost is holding fast. The cold, recently settled in, is absolute. So too the clear blue of the cloudless sky. Not a single drip today from an earlier day’s sun-melt row of icicle teeth. Not even at noon on the south-facing eaves.

It snowed just enough to blanket the farm

winter trees in a snowy field (black and white photo)

The trees and shrubs appeared to have sprouted from a vast eiderdown quilt that settled over the viewable acreage overnight.

Happy Winter Holidays and snow days for all who enjoy that sort of thing!

The subtle mental nausea of homesick

a scrap of writing I did when I was 21, summer after college. (a summer homesickness)

Here’s a scrap from one of my journals of youth. A page written when I was twenty-one, and newly out of college— my first summer spent in Brooklyn, as I’d always gone back to the farm in between the school years. Few of my schoolmates were in town that summer. I was broke, looking for work, renting a furnished room in a  sublet with two roommates who were rarely at home. It was a lonely summer. (It was when I first began taking long solitary wanders in this town.)

I can see that I’ve apparently always had a penchant to write in all caps (when not too hurried), and a flair for flowery or not very day-to-day wording, though over the years it has seeped into my speech. When they say write the way you speak, I wound up doing it the other way round, haha.

Anyway, as I shall be back at the farm in less then 48 hours, a little homesick nostalgia seemed a timely do-dad to pull from the archives for this Winter Solstice post.