Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Snow Days

True to form, it has been several days since my last blog. That sounds like something you would say in confession! In fact, as much as I want to get onto a daily writing regimen, I still have not done so. Usually I would be angry with myself for that. I would rant and rave inside my head and become a grumpy bear to those around me. I would grow more and more anxious, and start thinking, “All I need is a solid block of time to get myself started.” I would make all sorts of excuses, and then I would find myself looking for new ways to distract myself, but the work would remain untouched and I would get angrier and angrier with myself. But not today: today I feel really good about both the fact that I am not writing by schedule, and for the reasons why. I start by noting that our second born, Nik, turned 36 today. Where did the time go? I am a grandfather of three, with four thirty-something kids and my bride of forty years. I don’t feel old. Of course, the book says “old is fifteen years older than you are now,” which means, old is always far ahead of you. So I am not old. I just ache a lot. We also took down most of Christmas. Now that was a job. Next: it snowed here in Montana this week. It snowed a lot. It snowed more over the last three days than in any other snow storm we have experienced since we’ve been up here. In Kalispell eighteen inches of snow fell on Monday alone. Xander experienced the first two snow days of his young educational career. In Lakeside they estimate close to fourteen inches. And that means shoveling. It would have been tempting to tell myself, skip the shoveling until after the storm is done. But with the projected snowfall, you worry about the weight of the snow on the decks, and the depth the snow will reach when the last flake falls. The longer you wait, the deeper the snow and the harder it is physically. So I went out each day to clear what I could, even while the snow was falling. It was good exercise, even if it seemed like an exercise in futility. But at two a. m. Tuesday morning a co-worker called to tell me he couldn’t get out of his driveway because it was buried under a foot and a half of snow. I looked outside the window of my house and saw two inches on the deck, all that fell after I had shoveled on Monday – so I was good to go, and I took his shift. I was prepared. Tired, but prepared. Feeling that good inside, it was easy for me to give myself permission not to write for a few more days. Of course, I did not not write: a couple of new poems crawled out of my brain, and an idea popped in for some of the details for the novel I am outlining. I also sat down to watch CNN’s The Sixties, sitting in my DVR since October. I am drawing inspiration from that material as well. Even in the quiet of snow falling my unquiet mind opened itself comfortably but assuredly toward the future.

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