Nineteen Degrees

It’s a bit to get used to again, feeling those temperatures below freezing. The snap of the frozen grass is a memory so old I could not forget it even if I haven’t heard it in years. As I went out for my walk this morning, the cold felt particularly biting. I think I need mittens — my black leather gloves, although they have Thinsulate, are not going to be enough for things like shoveling snow. The importance of breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth becomes very clear on a day like this. Let the cilia do their work.

By the time I got to the top of the hill to head west into the very strong wind, my fingers had warmed again even if my cheeks had become numb. At least going a bit later (closer to 9) there was far less traffic. My red wool cape may not be all that aerodynamic, but I figure the wind resistance just adds to the aerobic workout. I couldn’t figure out at first how I got Nick Cave’s “Henry Lee” in my head, but then I recalled the lyrics,

and the wind did howl and the wind did moan…

although the groans came mostly from the bare tress rubbing against each other in the wind as if trying to stay warm. It seemed odd to have a murder ballad in my head when I was in such a good mood, but in the midst of life we are in death. I had already on my mind when I awoke that today’s date is a very sad one; I was nearly all the way back down the hill when I saw the lifeless body of one of our local cats, soft peach and white. It must have been struck by a car. It was one of the cats Kipper stared at out the windows, crying. Poor little thing — but it’s a busy street and people just don’t care.

Not every thing can be mended; destruction is a much a part of life as creation. But occasionally we can stave off the inevitabiliy of dissolution. I mended the broken gnome with some tacky glue (thanks, Susan). He’s pictured here in pieces, along with my ever appropriate mug from the Museum of Funeral History in Houston. It sports the legend, “Any day above ground is a good one.” Indeed.

After gluing him back together, I put him in the window to dry. Now he faces out to the porch like a child staring from the sick room, eager to rejoin his friends outside.

5 thoughts on “Nineteen Degrees

  1. If I had known, I could have loaned you some tasteful glue.The same sad Fate struck one of our neighborhood kitties, too; Bernie was kind enough to move its body out of the traffic, though, until we could find its human to claim it.Will it possible ever again in the NE to be allowed time to acclimate to the weather?

  2. Har har — tacky, I get it.That was very kind of Bernie. It’s worse to see them become kitty pancakes. I will never forget seeing my little cat lying in the road at the end of our driveway when I was a child.You live in New England, you should be able to take sudden changes in stride, right? It’s one of the few places (like Michigan) where the old adage “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute” actually fits. I have had people repeat that saying to me everywhere, including Houston, where you can wait months and never have the weather change at all.Does the Hudson Valley count as New England? Does whiskey count as beer? (when in doubt, quote from the Simpsons).

  3. They’re stealing our quotes! Damn Texans!We’ve had too many deaths recently in this house…our downstairs neighbor’s cat passed away of old age, while the next door neighbor’s cat died mysteriously…he was only a year and a half old.We just went to the funeral of our landlord who died this week. It was a “good funeral” in that people got up to tell wonderful stories of the old man. While sad, there was no typical dismal religious crap to get in the way…just some nice memories shared with others.Tom, you’ll forever be linked to this house. Farewell…

  4. Cheryl, what a lovely comment. So sad about all the losses, but good that people can remember with joy those who shared their lives. Memories are the best comfort.

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