On A Walk


Melting snow and traffic and
dog walkers, walking their dogs.
Wet paw prints and old oak leaves.
The river, taking a walk of its own,
migrating into the park.
The banks unable to hold back
the spring melt.
Barricades and sand bags,
sunshine and people in shorts.
Skateboarders and bicyclers.
Trees and shrubs bare but waiting
to burst with green.
Friends and lovers like
black bears fresh from
a winter’s sleep.
We shake off the cold,
warm tired muscles
and walk outside to find
the world still exists
under the heavy burden of snow.
We remember our lives
as we used to live,
in tee shirts and sunglasses
like they were nothing more
than dreams in sleep.
Dreams we recall on a February
day when the wind howls
and snow pours from the sky.
Remember, we think, remember
when we wore tee shirts outside
and walked with sandals
on our feet?
That’s just a dream, just a dream.

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Here we are at the end of January and I’ve hardly written anything lately. That’s because I’m keeping busy staying warm. I live in Minnesota and we are experiencing a bit of a cold snap. Even for Minnesota, 28 below zero Fahrenheit is a bit extreme. When you factor in the windchill, which in today’s dumbed down society is called “feels like” temperature, it was 54 below zero this morning. That’s cold. Even in Canada or Alaska, that’s cold. Here’s a link to a little video that shows what happens when you throw boiling water into air that cold. It freezes instantly, turns into frozen mist and floats away on the wind. As the younger people say, WTF?!

For those who have never experienced that kind of cold, you can’t even imagine it. Not even standing inside a walk in freezer is the same. The air actually hurts your face. My dog, who is half Husky, half Malamute, and is born and bred for this kind of weather doesn’t stay out very long. It is warmer at McMurdo Station, Antarctica than it is here. A lot warmer. Right now it’s 19 degrees above zero there. That means it’s 47 degrees warmer in Antarctica than in my front yard! There’s something wrong with that. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but somethings wrong. It’s days like these that I contemplate selling my house, buying a camper and heading South. That could be a fun adventure.

Not only is it physically painful to go to the mailbox but the power company is asking people to turn down their thermostats. The extra power needed to keep up with the cold is putting a strain on the system and causing power outages. So imagine losing power to your house in that kind of weather. As Han Solo says: “C’mon baby, hold together!” Oh yeah, I don’t have to go to the mailbox because the postal service has cancelled mail delivery today because it’s to dangerous to be out working in this kind of weather. Welcome to a Minnesota winter.

We have a minute or two more daylight each day however, so that’s nice. For those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) it can be a rough time. So the extra daylight helps. Being retired is nice because I don’t have to go out if I don’t want to. A lot of cars won’t start. It’s just too cold. So here I am, not going anywhere, but staying warm as long as I don’t lose power. I suppose I could sacrifice a chicken or something to the gods of the power grid. Maybe that will help. Maybe I’ll just have some chicken for lunch. Maybe that will work.

Poem For A Cold January Morning

snow
Sharp edged drifts, sculpted by wind
frame the undulating snow covered hills
undisturbed by man or machine.
Pinkish orange in the morning sun the
valleys are left in blue gray shadow.

Underneath, on this cold January day
the ground slumbers.
Waiting for water and warmth, for
the turning of earth, the chance
to give life, and maybe dreaming.
Does the earth dream?

April 29th

So on the 29th of April, it is snowing in southern Minnesota. Not a ground covering freezing slippery snow but a wet, cold snow. The temp is about 34 degrees F which means that the rain is just turning to snow. It’s been doing this all day. So here is a Haiku for the day.

snowfall in the air
holds spring back another day
no sun for us yet

I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun, oh wait! I think it was Easter day. So it’s been more than a week since the sun shone on us poor pitiful cold southern Minnesota people. That’s what we get for living here I guess. I can tell you that when the sun does come back to us, the air will warm and the days will be beautiful. Minnesota is the best place in the world.

Clarity

Standing still in the snow I look across the field.
The cold air presses against my face, a living thing.
As my shadow slowly moves a turkey appears
pecking at the snow covered dirt, mindlessly moving
to disappear behind a hill. A dog barks and is silent.

My breath, coming through my scarf fogs my glasses,
obscuring my vision. I take one step and the snow
crunches under my boot, loud in the still air.
Looking over my glasses the world is blurred
and softer than reality, but still cold.