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Barry Crimmins

words to live near


political satirist Barry Crimmins

Wind and Chill Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wind and Chill
With all due respect for Courier and Ives, they're dead and I'm sick of living in one of their engravings.

It has been an aesthetically beautiful winter. It has also been a relentless, cruel and dangerous season. It came five weeks ahead of its calendric ETA and has stayed, at this point, nine days beyond its scheduled date of departure. Every time it has shown mercy and thawed for a day or so the puddled remnants have been flash frozen by a new burst from the arsehole of the Arctic.

The ice jam that surrounded our rural outpost was finally beginning to recede this week, until Thursday night when eight inches of fresh snow befell us. It was wet March white stuff or there might have been well over a foot of compound insult greeting us yesterday morning. Once again the pines and birches are frosted and look beautiful. We are so grateful, had this storm not come we'd be stuck remembering the fourteen other meteorological disturbances we've had over the last four months that have left us abandoned in an infinite series of greeting cards from an endless winter.
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Some ask why we won't leave. Well let's consider the options. New York City? The cost of living there is harsher than any winter could ever be. The Slave States? Enough said. The Southwest? I don't like spiders, snakes or feeling as if some malevolent force is trying to bake enamel on me. California? I'll take winter over toad and locust season any day. The Northwest? The Hanford Reservation is going to blow one of these days and when it does it will bring a winter that not even a native of upstate NY can bear.

Why not move out of the country? Because I'm stubborn and stupid. Plus I don't know how internationally portable Lettie and Lu are, and they are innocent, dependent and they love it here.

Dogs are what brought us here and will keep us here. Lloyd's spirit is in our home and the surrounding land, and we won't leave him behind. Lettie and Lu imbue each day with the kind of joy and adventurous spirit with which their predecessor lived. The girls are now nine months old and becoming at least somewhat civilized. They are a million laughs and have accumulated dozens of nicknames. Spaghetti and Meatballs. Vim and Vigor. Now and Then. Mirth and Mayhem. Brains and Looks. Surf and Turf. Crime and Punishment. Rhythm and Blues. Consumer and Confidence. Feast and Famine. You get the idea and so do they. They come running to anything but since they're perpetual competitors, the run to the porch becomes a race. The race consumes them and they forget there's a finish line so they veritably rocket past their destination. When notified of their blunder, Lu will pull up short, directly in front of Lettie. To avoid a high-speed collision. Lettie will spring over Lu and land ten or fifteen away, hitting the ground on the dead run. It's a fabulous show! I can't wait to see what they come up with when the warm weather brings better footing.
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So hell yes, there has been enough winter. Like proverbial self-inflicted mallet blows to the head, it will feel great when it ends. Beneath it now lies a buried treasure that will reveal itself in a yard full of work to do; gardens that will again bloom; sunny days; cool breezes; balmy starlit nights and an increased appreciation for the truly good moments when life is gentle, beautiful and fragrant.

Unlike Soup and Sandwich, these lovely things are not sprinting our way but they're coming and when they finally arrive, they will also make us smile. In the meantime, feel free to grab any of these photos for your 2008 holiday cards.
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