Looking back at the joyride of weather fluctuation we have
experienced over the past couple of years, this has been a subtle
Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, let me
clarify that statement by saying that yes, I know it’s an absolute
bone-chiller outside. But it’s those slight drops in temperature that
mean the difference between wind-burned cheeks and blue-tinged
frostbite. It’s one (or two) extra layers of socks that leave you with
ten toes instead of nine on your journey to the mailbox and back.
the little shifts that add up to big change. After all, an individual
life starts out as a very little thing, one tiny thing which continues
to grow into a big thing made up of atoms and particles even smaller
than that. The Greeks called the small and invisible “atom” and science
kept that term for what was once the smallest particle in the world
known to humans. Not too very long ago the atom was split into even
tinier pieces. One Google search just told me that quarks and leptons
are currently in a tie as being the smallest thing. Up to one minute ago
I had never heard of a lepton.
The 2014 calendar hasn’t even
flipped to February yet and particles are shifting all over the place.
Except for a drastic rise into the 40s and subsequent fall to subzero in
mid-January, the chill has slowly burrowed through the exterior layers
of our cars, roofs and sweaters. I haven’t even heard a snap or pop from
expanding river ice. The starlings that live above our bathroom’s
ceiling fan haven’t ventured out for a few days because there is no
rapid rise of warmth from the rising sun as it shines on the eastern
face of my house. By the way, the vent cover blew off during the derecho
and neither of us remembered to replace it last summer.
is home from college and her blessed self is spending the cold days
repainting the interior of the house. I hate to house paint. In that
respect, she is not my child. We did share a great time gathering paint
chip booklets and posting different samples on the walls of the kitchen,
hall, front room and bathroom. We perused drawer pulls and fixtures at
Paul’s while we waited for our selected paints to be mixed and shaken. I
was so excited that we were finally going to freshen up the walls to
cover ten years of muddy tail wags, scuffs and unidentifiable spots that
I called a best friend to share my joy.
“What colors are you painting?” asked Julie.
picked ‘novel’ for the south wall of the kitchen, ‘sea foam’ for the
entry to the hall, ‘hint of mint’ for the plant bridge and ‘tea biscuit’
for the front room,” I exclaimed.
“So you’re painting it white again,” she responded.
not white. There are differences in those shades, backgrounds on which
to hang bold expressions of art and photographs. It’s the subtleties
that one experiences every moment that either direct one’s course or
stop and start it altogether. American troubadour Pete Seeger used music
to fight for peace and justice for all. He melodically, poetically
placed the bug in many an ear, gently but firmly furthering those causes
in which he believed. We all lost Seeger this week, but the beat goes
On Friday morning during morning chores, I watched my Steven
carry the cold form of my nemesis Bernie the Rooster to the edge of the
woods. Bernie was somewhere around eight years in age before he died in
the coop Thursday night. For five of those years he did his best to
plant both of his leg spurs in my leg calves. I sprained my ankle for
the first time doing a dance with Bernie, prompting my boss to give me a
car ride to St. Rita’s as my ankle swelled after my arrival at the
office. As my family tearfully observed Bernie’s passing, we recalled
the message that my hilarious boss left on the answering machine, “I’m
taking your wife to the hospital. She was in a cockfight.”
life of one red rooster may not seem remarkable, but my very ill father
enjoyed Bernie stories. That bird took care of the hens, refusing to eat
his feed until the girls had had their fill. This spring may bring
another rooster into my life. It will certainly mean the installation of
a new bathroom vent cover once the starlings have flown their winter
coop. For right now, I’ll mark the march from winter to spring with hot
showers under bird song and warm whitish walls. It’s the little things
that will get us to spring. Like leptons.