This Thing Called Courage

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weather or Not

I CAN'T LET THIS WEEK PASS without mentioning something I saw this week, which I have never seen before, and probably won't again. We've had a strange spell of weather-- we didn't see the sun all last week, from Sunday evening until Saturday morning. The precipitation that fell was in the form of rain in the early part of the week (it PELTED Tuesday night and all day Wednesday) and then snow, since Wednesday night. Apparently two systems were fighting it out, a very hot mass down south, and a frigid artic thingy just north of here, and New England the battleground between. Well, the two systems met up Wednesday night, and their pas de deux was not a quiet one. I took the T into town that night to attend my church's Ash Wednesday services, which were lovely and absolutely mobbed. It was raining lightly in town as I was heading home; when I got off the train at Oak Grove (with nary an oak in sight-- more on that later) the rain had changed to a sleety mix, and was coming down with a bit more gusto. By the time I got up to Happy Land (aka The Fells Reservation) about 200' higher in elevation and one mile north, it was sleet. And then it happend: I heard the rumble of thunder, and a 'cell' moved in-- and then there was (what proved to be) the first of several lighting blasts as the storm rolled over the hills-- and it just absolutely POURED sleet! And then another flash of lighting-- and it was so unbelievably beautiful, I just stopped and looked. The lighting lit up each tiny piece of sleet as if it were neon, and a billion flashes of white filled the universe. And then again; and then again. Know how hard it can rain in a thunderstorm downpour? Well, this was like that-- except sleet. And when the lighting flashed-- oh my. That's the thing about spending a lot of time outdoors-- a writer once said that he, or she (I can't remember who it was) like to work late intot he night, as then all the ideas floating around out there were theirs all theirs. In the same way, when one is out at all hours and all weathers, one occasionally catches nature-- or perhaps is shown by nature-- some amazingly beautiful things. And it's humbling, and beautiful, and gratifying, and I feel like Emily Dickinson's father-- who once rang a church bell to call attention to the beauty of a sunset.

Tonight another front is roaring through: the temperature is nose-diving and the wind is howling out of the northwest, the old Montreal Express. This old house is shaking, the windows rattling, and the temperature has gone from 38 to 15 in the course of an hour. I just got in from walking Fionn. As the front came through today, we had a number of snow squalls, or snow bursts, which were just amazing. I happened to be out in the first one, walking out at Castle Island as is my wont of a Sunday. The sun was out, then it dimmed; then like this fog moved in and the light got ephemeral and ethereal. All of a sudden I heard this whoosh, my body was shoved forward by the invisible elbows of the wind, and then there was snow everywhere, huge flakes blowing UP, and sideways, in the howling wind. It really doubled us over and I had to pick up little Fionn to keep him from blowing away. And though it was wild, and somewhat alarming, it was beautiful, and exhilirating, and like being in a Russian Fairy Tale. We had a few more of these as the day went on.

Despite such winter weather, I am already celebrating spring-- and oh, this morning in Boston Fionn and I saw the first REAL sign of it-- of course Boston, only seven miles south and on the water, and obviously at sea level, is milder than up here; and this was in front of a stone apartment building, facing south, in a little patch shelted from the wind, on Charles Gate East, not too far from Fenway Park. Anyway I had to look twice-- it was about a dozen bright green spikes poking out of the ground! Winter, even in its evergreens, doesn't have this color on her palette, that giddy 'Spring Green.' The brave little spikes were about two to three inches up, and were too tall to be crocus-- I would say daffodils or hyacinths-- but I really couldn't believe it. I was pointing them out to Fionn, then thought better of it, thinking he might christen them, as it were.

Above and beyond that, I've started my seeds. A whole bunch of milkweeds last Saturday, and about three dozen zinnias ("Envy," a beautiful green variety) today. Some people might think that a green flower is redundant, but it's a great color in a flower, the rarest of all, and it combines magnificently with purple and white flowers around it. The seeds I used were ones I harvested from last year's plants, which makes it all the more special. There are few things in life more satisfying than growing a plant from seed, and seeing it become a beautful, flower-borne bush by midsummer, a source of food for butterflies and birds and you remembering how the wind howled and the snow flew the February night bold you (believing in such miracles) started it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing... you brought a smile to my face :) -a-b-s-

6:11 PM  
Blogger BiscuitsBoy said...

Thanks for the comment, and thanks too for the kind words-- glad it made you smile.

8:16 PM  

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