View from my living room window
I thought I would take a walk today, but nature had other plans: the first blizzard of this season, pouring down snow, blowing fiercely through trees and around houses in this tiny town. The snow has been falling now for several hours, and the wind is fierce, loud, tearing. It sounds as if it will rip the roof, or at least the shingles, off the house and open up my little home to the elements. It is cold, and wet and harsh: a real Maine winter’s day.
Tire tracks in snow
As I sit here, writing, listening to the icy wind, the sounds of pieces of ice being thrown down my street, through tree branches, decorating the wood of trees and the steps of houses with squishy-squashy piles of snowy mush, the darkness of a winter’s day hangs at the edges. Today is a day where it will never really get light, despite our steady march toward the light again, now that the solstice is passed.
Last night was a cold, clear night in which the moon hung like a small, round beacon, tall in the sky. My friend came to my studio last night to tell me to come outside and look at the moon. We stood on the porch and gazed at our satellite – perfect and white-grey in the nighttime, framed by the glimmering glow of two planets. Later, after an amazing Italian-Greek-Maine style pasta dinner, after mouthfuls of anchovies and olives and raw garlic and American Parmesan cheese (the only type we could find in the Pine Tree Market last night), we went outside again, bundled up in jackets and hats against the cold, and held high-powered binoculars in steady hands to look at the man in the moon. He disappears when you look too closely at him: then all you can see are the waterless seas, the craters, the mountains, all of those features thousands of miles away, yet, so close.
We listened to the glug-glug-glug of a wine bottle pouring Bordeaux into old glasses, holding the neck of the bottle up to our ears, closely. I climbed upstairs and looked at all of his garlic held in suspension above the room, in the rafters of the roof. I looked at a red and black and white wool blanket over a bed that has never been used, stared at two red owls, swooping in suspended animation, hanging from the ceiling. I gazed upon piles of old National Geographic magazines, perfectly tied into bundles, stacked in a corner. On the floor are seeds of basil and dirt from the garlic heads: all fallen from ceiling to floor since they were put up in the fall. That room smells of dry pine, garlic, basil and sage. At night it is golden, full of light, and the windows are dark black, staring out into the sky, out at the moon.
Do you see the shape of my neighbor’s house reflected in the water droplets?
What a place of magic this is, this mysterious home of mine. This place that is full of people yet feels so empty. This place whose stillness is magnified on days like today as snow falls and you see no one move, knowing that everyone, like you, is inside, being cozy, staring out the windows at the day as it passes, wondering what will happen, if the power will stay on, if there are enough candles, if the blankets are warm enough.
There is a beauty and a strength to stillness: to the perception of self that comes when one is alone as the blizzard rages outside. To the awareness of one’s body sitting on a white couch, under a pink blanket, coffee brewing on the counter to your left. Wind howling, sky white-grey, oak tree branches black; even the birds seem to be hunkered down today as I haven’t seen them. Maybe it’s time to go outside and visit the birch trees down on the Sound, to see how they are faring on a day like today. Or maybe, sit and sew awhile, and see how the time passes.
Rooftop, Trees, Fireside….