Snowmelt rattles down the drainpipes. It drips off the clematis vine’s curlicue seed-pods and spade-like leaf-blades to zing-and-slide down my neck as I pass beneath the arbor. Melt-puddles wait for the unwary with a sudden splash of ice cold that soaks shoes and creeps northward up the socks, headed grimly for the knees.
The snow our rare November storm left behind is finally, finally melting away. It started yesterday as the temperature, following timidly behind the sun, inched its way through the middle of the 40s and touched 50 and, for the first time in twelve days, didn’t shrink back below freezing overnight. I can walk outside in my normal, sensible shoes and leave my snowboots with the grippy soles inside the door. There’s no need to cast ice-melting grit before me, hoping to scare off a slip-and-fall just as a priest swings a censer of burning incense to ward off demons. A light breeze, chilly but cheerful, moves the long bell-chimes hanging from the eaves. They compose random melodies that escape and drift away.
Ask me: Do I love winter? Yes, I do, I do. But I’ll admit I’m glad this thick, icy, now elderly eight inches of snow will soon be nothing but a memory. With temps barely crossing 35 in the daytime and swooping down into the low 20s at night, the woodstove has been blazing 24-7 here at the Wren’s Nest. I’ve taken all the sweaters and long-sleeved turtlenecks out of storage and found my warmest socks. The menu each day has included hot cereal in the morning, nuked-to-steaming leftovers for lunch and thick, bubbling stews rich with vegetables and potatoes in the evening. I love all this stuff, but I’m relishing this lovely break in the ice, too. Solstice is still weeks away. There’s plenty of winter waiting in the wings.
I’m still gimping around with aching bursitis hips and stiff, twingy rheuma hands. My nights aren’t very restful, but I’m usually able to catch a short nap in the afternoon to make up for the lost sleep. (If there’s a reason to be grateful for unemployment, this is it.) My body has been uncomfortable, sometimes downright painful, but I’m in good spirits. This strange, early-season freeze has been chock-full of gifts, jewels in a winter palace. As long as I look for them, they’re there, ready to catch my breath in my throat and curl my lips into a smile.
The forecast is for rain, starting tomorrow and lasting through the weekend, with temperatures just high enough that it won’t convert to snow here at the alpine edge of the Sierras. I’m pleased. I’m picking my New Mexico sister up at the airport at noon tomorrow and taking her to my Mom’s house, an early Christmas surprise we concocted since Jami can’t be here for the holiday itself. On Saturday morning, I see my rheumatologist for my quarterly check-up. I’m curious to find out what he has up his sleeve for this maddening, painful, wearying bursitis and the aggravating rheuma pain in my hands and wrists. Nothing much, I’m afraid, but foolish optimist that I am, I remain hopeful.
May this find you warm, feeling well and enjoying the early gifts of the season. Thanks for dropping by.