December 29th, 2003

caillebotte_man at his window

Snowy Rainy Stuff

Snow has been alternating with periods of rain all night, so that periods of silence will be followed by periods of pattering raindrops punctuated with the thuds of saturated snow clumps dropping from the trees. Thus, only about an inch of very wet snow covers the ground. Last evening, there was the sound of motorists caught by the snowstorm without chains on their tires slipping and sliding around the slick streets and spinning their wheels when they got stuck in ditches. During the last couple of hours the only cars I've heard have been those of the guys delivering the morning newspapers.

Unless the rain prevails and washes away the snow, I expect that sometime after dawn I will be awakened by the scraping of one of the town snowplows on the pavement. They aren't real snowplows, of course, since the snow here is too rarely deep enough to justify the expense of maintaining one. Instead, the town has blades which can be attached to the fronts of the road department's pickup trucks. On those occasions when the snowfall is too great for these to handle, bulldozers and skip loaders are hired from private construction companies. Something tells me those companies will be getting some business in the new year. The heaviest snowfalls here have usually come in February. Given that I have never known it to be this cold in December, I shiver to think what this coming February might bring.We might be buried under a blizzard of Montanan proportions.

For the moment, the snow is but a decorative blanket, and the cold insufficient to keep it falling. A while ago, the cats even ventured out to inspect it, and one remained out for nearly an hour. They, of course, much prefer snow to rain, as it leaves them dry -- until they come indoors and any flakes caught in their fur begin to melt. It's fun to see the looks they get on their faces when they realize they are getting damp and they have no idea how it is happening. Kitties and snow -- an unbeatable combination for cheap winter fun.

It's possible that the snow may grow deeper after sunrise, of course, if the clouds thicken and it grows colder. That's not an uncommon sequence of events here. I hope that it doesn't interfere with the shopping that needs to be done. I will soon be needing more cat food, and I am entirely out of chocolate chips! How did that happen? I don't know, but it needs to be rectified as soon as possible!

I'd like to write about the trip I made to San Francisco this time of year when I was 19, but I'm afraid to get started on yet another entry which promises to be very long when I've already got several such unfinished, lurking somewhere on Sluggo's hard drive. But I've been intending to tackle this particular tale for the last two Decembers, and my failure to have done so nags me. I'm sorely in need of the ambition I had when I was younger and had little to say. Alas that experience and energy work at cross purposes in human life! But that's enough bemoaning for a morning so near the year's end. If I don't finish what I've started this year, there's always another (he said with death-defying bravado.) Let's have an early drink to the new year. Cheers!
caillebotte_the balcony

Read About MY Weather! MINE!

And why is everyone else writing about the weather? That's my thing, you know! Also, why have three journals on my friends list been deleted in recent days? Is it mad cow? Is it winter depression? Is it me? Strangeness.

But I slept oddly well, being the sun for a world of blankets, filling them with warmth so that I dreamed of lying on a summery beach where someone splashed icy water on my head, but I enjoyed it because it was so refreshing. There was a sound from behind me as of a cat lapping from a bowl. Then I drifted off to sleep (in the dream) and while sleeping I was buried deeper and deeper in warm sand which became uncomfortably heavy and I woke (actually) with a cat lying on top of me deforming my back. The room was terribly cold. I could hear the water running (with cat-lap sound) from the down spout.

Reluctantly, I pulled myself from the blankety warmth of the bed and hurriedly dressed. Upon opening the drapes, I saw a gray and white world, the air still streaked with rain and flecks of snow. The slushy street is now curbed with a mixture of wet snow and brown pine needles, smudged here and there with the residue of automobile exhaust. The undisturbed snow covering the yard is like a lake of frozen milk in which gray patches of translucent watery ice are floating.Within, I can see blades of grass and the dark shapes of fallen leaves. The bush at the end of the walk wears a lid of snow, broken only in one spot where the frozen weight has pulled the branches apart. From that opening, a small brown bird emerged. It stood looking at the wintry landscape for a moment and began chirping "what! the! hell? what! the! hell?"

No snow sticks to the bare branches of the mulberry tree. Instead, its twigs are decorated with sparkling drops of water which tremble and fall when the fluttering birds alight for a moment. The bright drops seem unduly festive next to the few forlorn leaves which cling here and there, but they also bring to my mind the incongruous image of sweat beads on an exhausted runner. The day is too strange for me. I ought to have remained asleep in my warm cocoon of blankets, dreaming of the beach until spring bade me emerge, when my thoughts could play like butterflies amid the new flowers.