The weather here has been frigid. Highs in the teens, lows in the negatives. I guess I chose a good set of days to be home ill. Going out is borderline uncomfortable. Of course, we have luxuries: heated leather seats in the car and knee-length-down-filled-coats with fleece pockets. They make the cold bearable. Just looking out into the cold makes me feel shivery. I feel blessed to have warm blankets and slippers and cats. Cats always make winter better.
The juncos and titmice don't notice. I expect them to turn into little birdcicles if they sit too long on a branch. They never do. They just flitter away, as if it's thirty degrees warmer than it actually is. It's encouraging for me to get up and dressed when I know there are little flying tufts of feathers eager for the sun and our measly suet feeder every morning.
We went a day and a half without running water recently. After making several phone calls, D had a man out to fix it and it only took half an hour to repair. An underground wire that makes the pump in our well work was severed somehow. He replaced the wire and was on his way.
In all honesty, it felt tremendously inconvenient to have no running water for this (short) length of time. Once it was fixed, I took a hot shower. While in the shower, I felt ashamed for letting it be such a bothersome thing. Obviously there are people much worse off. People who don't even know running water is a thing. Thinking this way gets mentally exhausting, I know. Most normal people have a severed well pump wire, get it fixed, and say something like "oh thank God! I was starting to smell!" While I may say something like that, my mind is swarming with gratitude and guilt - privileged guilt. The worst kind of guilt...but mostly gratitude.
Thank God for running water!
Before we moved to Moraine, in our previous home, moss used to grow on the roof of the garage, between the shingles. I used to think it was so ugly and awful. Now I think it was quite beautiful. That's one of the ways Moraine has changed me. An empty nest dumped on the lawn at the beginning of winter because the leaves that held it in place have fallen would have been an eyesore. Now, I find it so lovely and symbolic of the only constant, change. A day without running water would have been a tragedy. Now, it's a lesson and a reminder - an opportunity for gratitude.
When there was a heavy snow, before Moraine, we worked frantically to make sure we could get out of the driveway and back to work as soon as possible. Now, we hope for a heavy snow because it will make it easier to see the wildlife.
I miss my grandma more on Moraine than I ever did before. Maybe that is just a coincidence, but in the quiet, simple evenings, I remember how she used to sleep with the t.v. on, in her big green bed, with a pink rosary hanging off the headboard. Early in the mornings sometimes, I smell her cigarettes and starched, bleached sheets. Almost every weekend, I make her biscuits and gravy for D and the kids. I think about her the whole time I cook - from start to finish- and I miss her so much sometimes, it hurts. I don't know what it is about Moraine that makes me ache for her so much. Maybe the silence, allowing her back in after years of keeping the thoughts out. Maybe it's the familiarity of a safe haven. Maybe it's the kids, knowing she'll never get to pinch them. She liked Dolly Parton and George Jones and Elvis. She would open a can of Coke and keep it in the refrigerator and sip it all day. She made blackeyed peas and cornbread for dinner and they were so warm and perfect every time. She made me laugh so much.
Once, her left turn signal light bulb was out. I was in the car with her when she found out. We went to Steve's gas station, where they pumped the gas for her. The attendant told her the bulb was out, but she didn't have the time to get it fixed. That day, we went from the gas station, to the grocery store, and back to her house making only right turns. It was the funniest thing you've ever seen.
She always gave us socks for Christmas. It was silly when I was a kid, but incredibly thoughtful looking back on it with adult eyes. She had a huge bathtub. It had a cigarette burn in the far right corner.
Grandma smoked like a chimney, even when she was very, very sick - she would smoke whatever you handed her: a straw or an unlit cigarette.
I'm sure she would get a kick out of Moraine. Looking down, I'm sure she knows how much she means to me.
This next week will be calm, but moving onto February will be hectic. D will be going out of town for a few days, and then he and I are going away for a concert over Valentine's Day (yay!) to see our favorite band. Winter is cold and warm at the same time. I'm ready for spring. Remember the crocuses?
"Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name"