Thursday, January 16, 2014

Now is another winter of my discontent

Scattered thoughts from a scattered mind
I am having a "strange winter." I am uncertain how else to describe it.
The last strange winter I had was a decade ago. I still was living at my "Sanctuary/Refuge." I was living alone. This winter, cold temperatures have been a problem; that winter, snow and more snow and still more snow was the problem.
I do like fast cars. I do like Suburban-type vehicles. But, in a general sense, I despise gasoline engines and would never buy a snow blower as long as I have arms and legs, and to buy a "blade" for my Suburban seemed pretty much of a waste of money to me. Label me stubborn, label me a penny-pincher, label me just plain dumb because my driveway was one-half mile long at my "Sanctuary/Refuge" and I had to clear it myself.
If there were a wind accompanying a heavy snowfall, it meant the road would be clear in places with drifts in other places. Although occasional drifts were four- or five-feet deep and might go on for ten or twelve yards at a time, such conditions were manageable for a man with a shovel to dig and a Suburban to ram his way through. But, if there were no wind so that the snow fell straight down, that was an entirely different story.
It was not unusual to have snow a foot deep over that one-half mile driveway once and a while, but that winter such snowfalls were coming nearly every week beginning at Thanksgiving. And then came a storm the final week of February that left me so much snow -- sort of knee-deep to waist-deep the entire length of the driveway -- that it took me twenty-four hours over two days to shovel myself out. There were more storms which came later, but that was the worst, and it took place after a four-month progression of snowstorms.
At the time, I recalled a passage from James Michener's masterpiece, "Centennial:"
"It was a bad winter and he (Alexander McKeag) was soon snowed under. Drifts covered him and once more he lived at the bottom of a cave. Since he had survived such entombments before, this one did not cause apprehension ...."
I have been reading this novel again, for the sixth time, I believe. I especially enjoy the segment about Pasquinel, the coureur de bois, and McKeag, who fled Scotland for the American wilderness, and have read it another three or four times independent of the rest of the book.
There are many elements to this book which offer introspection into the American psyche, such as this observation:  ".... he was afflicted by the permanent American illness. A deep depression attacked him, which he could identify but not explain, the awful malaise of loneliness."
Or, the ever-increasing reality there is a real war between those who are, in effect, determined to turn the U.S. into a vast parking lot and those who wish to keep it in its natural state as much as possible:
"That's probably the most important thing any of us can ever learn. How to take care of the land .... We need it to survive. But it doesn't need us. It's gotten along for millions of years without us .... Now the Indians, they knew how to take care of the land, how to maintain the balance. And the first white men who came here. But the men who came since, they haven't really cared about anything much except themselves, what they could take out of the land, how it could make them rich. And there's a kind of a war that's been going on for some time now. It's a war you'll be part of .... It's a war between the men to want to take care of the land, and the men who just want to take what they can out of it. The takers and the caretakers, I call it .... Only the land lives forever."
Or .... well, enough. This is not a book review. Possibly, I will write more about Michener another day because I think he might be the greatest American novelist of the Twentieth Century. He certainly was prolific, and he blended factual history with fiction with finesse. Hmmmm .... factual/fiction/finesse .... hmmmm ....
I would wish that if anyone were to read one novel this year, it would be Michener's "Centennial." But, if reading a 909-page book is not for you at the moment, there is a film adaptation which runs about twenty-six hours available on DVD. It follows the book very closely.
So, to "drift" back to winters of snow and winters of cold, the primary cause of my dislike for snow was created through often having had to commute twenty or thirty miles to work on snowy, icy roads, many times during storms and blizzards. If I do not have to commute, snow offers beauty and it is just fine. Weeks without end of sub-freezing temperatures -- much of the time with consecutive days of sub-zero temperatures -- create lengthy periods of near-hibernation and a cabin-fever mentality. That is what is getting to me this winter. Put simply, cold is more difficult to cope with .... anyway, it is for me. And, I might add, all four seasons are sweet when one lives as a coureur de bois, rather than as a refugee in the suburbs. (Can you read between the lines?)
Now, some good news: FramWinter has arrived at its MidWinter. The summit of FramWinter is reached today -- January 16 -- and, the descent into spring has begun.
By the way, notice once again there are no photographs, no art, no paintings here. When I do something once, I often want to do it twice or more. Since I had no illustration for my last post, I will have none for this one. No more resolutions, either .... at least, none for the moment .... later, maybe .... is there a deadline for making resolutions ??

Happy Full Moon ....


ANITA said...

This is a nice post Fram!so you really really got winther now..although for you..Spring has begun!
Love that Centennial..gonne find that movie on Mega Share a free place to look at movies on the net..Looks good that movie!
i read between the lines what you write..but today i am really tired after working much so i really dont have much to say..only wish you a great day and thanx for inspiration!:))

Fram Actual said...

No matter where the stars and the planets are in the sky, Anita, I measure winter by the actual weather. In my part of the world, I consider winter-like weather to occupy about five months most years -- the period from November 1 through March 31. There might be snow storms before then and after that, but they usually are isolated. So, for me, the middle of January is not a precise measurement, but a general date for the middle of winter. Two and one-half months have passed; two and one-half months remain.

I am certain you would enjoy watching “Centennial” very much. It is a great story about the history of one place on the Earth -- in and around the fictional town of Centennial, Colorado -- and what has happened there since, more-or-less, the beginning of time. As I mentioned, it is historical fact blended with fiction to create a great story and an understanding of past and present. It is, most certainly, a universal story.

As always, I am glad you came to visit me, Anita. Thank you. Take care ....

Boris Estebitan said...

Wow, Boston is a great band, good Friday.

Fram Actual said...

Boston, before the death of vocalist Brad Delp, might have been the greatest rock band ever, in my opinion, Boris. It certainly is among the top five ever on my personal list and one of the band's songs is No. 2 on my all-time favorite list. I never tire of listening to Boston.

Thank you, Boris, for coming to visit me. It is always a pleasure to discover you have been here.

A Cuban In London said...

Well, at least you have a real winter. My problem with winter in London is that it very rarely is a winter. Right now we're having buckets of rain. It's as if someone keeps emptying a swimming pool... on me everytime I'm on my bike.

And Boston, oh, well... Boston! :-)

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

Well, tonight the temperature around here is predicted to reach about minus twenty degrees Fahrenheit (minus twenty-nine Celsius), and the ground is covered by about a foot of snow. That is too much winter for me these days, CiL.

When I was a boy, I would hunt in weather like this and not think twice about it. I am not certain if the change in me is due to the arrival of wisdom or the departure of youth. I will be an optimist in this instance, and say it probably is a bit of both.

Thanks, for coming to visit me, CiL. I hope you were wearing your winter coat so you did not get chilled.

A Cuban In London said...

Comment on your latest post. Loved the painting. Note to Telemachus: aim for someone lower, as in your level, son. :-)

I hadn't hear that Bowie song for years. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

Hey, CiL .... you are getting sly about navigating my posts.

No matter which door you enter, I appreciate your visits and admire your persistence.

I think Telemachus is his father's son, which is to say his ego knows no bounds.

Oh, I have to listen to this song every few weeks. It brings back good memories, and the song itself makes me happy. I love the versions with David Bowie and Gail Ann Dorsey performing together, but this rendition is my favorite.

Take care, buddy ....

Something special ....