Monday, January 28, 2013

I Took a Walk

I took, yesterday, in the interest of personal inventory reduction, a walk.

It shouldn't have felt as cold as it did, but there was no sun.  Twenty steps in I was huddled into myself and tucking in loose parts.

It's winter. I would say I don't like it, but that would mean spending 1/4 of my life not liking something, so I won't say that. Winter actually does have a couple redeeming qualities.

Snow, for instance, (which we rarely have). And ice for ice skating, (which we never have).

The other parts of winter I like are really not "liking winter" exactly, as much as enjoying the coping techniques.
Hot tea, for instance; Earl Grey in particular. Snuggling under covers in a chilly room. A Chief who cheerfully lets me put my freezing feet on him. Fire in the fireplace. (Not that we have one). Chili soup and corn bread.  Fuzzy socks. Long evenings for game-playing. And looking forward to spring.

Side virtues of dubious distinction, but virtues, none-the-less: I appreciate each one.

Outside, devoid of all these, I set out on my walk, under a canopy of naked, rattling branches, and a thin breeze cutting its way among the trees.

I pondered my crazy sister who lives farther north, who recently told me she LOVES winter! (I knew this before, she was just saying it again.)
They all do, she said. Her young son had slept the other night with his bedroom window open when it was 9 degrees outside. She made him keep his bedroom door shut she said, so the rest of the house wouldn't be 9 degrees.....(This judgement call of her's apparently redeeming her of all insanity. All I have to say is, "We report. You decide.")

But I thought of her and how she loves winter as I walked along, and contemplated the thought processes that would lead a person to love such a dark, cold, melancholy Thing. What was it like in her brain? I attempted to squeeze myself into it. It was an ill-fitting effort, and sizable parts of me dangled out the sides, but it was interesting to be sort of there.

I walked past the place where the resident coyote keeps appearing. I looked for him, but didn't see him. I turned the corner and headed up the hill. Smoke trailed on the breeze now and then, likely from someone's chimney. Someone with a fireplace.
A barred owl hooted from down near the creek. The forest floor was alive with pert squirrels who dashed noisily through crisp leaves and leaped to silent sentry positions against nearby tree trunks.

I got to the end of the lane and turned to walk down the hill. No cars. Geese gronk-gronk-gronked  off to my right. I watched as a trio of them flew above me and disappeared to the left over the swamp. Or is it a pond? It's a pond when it gets dammed up in front of the culvert that runs beneath the road, and empties on the far side. Sometimes there are beavers to dam it up. But sometimes there aren't. Right now, there aren't. Perhaps it gets a little local aid from surrounding humanity, I don't know. But it's nicest when it's a pond and right now it's a pond.
The sound of rushing water shut out the world. It was pleasant. The geese and the pond. Even on a cold gray day, it was all beautiful. It all fit, somehow. Maybe this was how it was to love winter.

I left the pond and walked up the hill. You burn more calories in cold weather. Another definite plus.
My phone rang. It was a friend. I walked along...or maybe sort of panted along...talking, walking, and burning extra calories thanks to the cold.

A car approached, the first I had seen. A little white car. I tried to flag it down. It blasted past, but then thought better of it and backed up. It's nice living on a road where you can back up without getting killed, and the only car that passes you has your husband in it.
I hopped in. It was nice and warm. I climbed out of my sister's brain and gave myself a good fluffing-up shake. It hadn't been altogether unpleasant there, perhaps sometime I would return. It was, at any rate, a reasonable survival technique.
 I think.
Unless winter makes you crazy without you really knowing.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

In Lieu of Anything Substantive....

The Chief is working today...the boys went off to play football...the littles went to watch...which leaves Reg and me....
...and she is occupying herself....

So I went to the kitchen. It was lonely and sleepish and wished someone would come cheer it up. "I could do that, I suppose." I thought to myself.

I got out the skillet and a roasted chicken carcass. It still had some valuable chicken on it. I carved it offa there and put it in the pan with a little oil. And a little garlic, and some fresh pepper, and some cumin....and fried it a little, and piled it on a plate.

The kitchen opened its eyes and blinked.

I got an onion from the bin and peeled it and sliced some of it and put it in the pan. I put a little more oil in it, stirring it now and then till it was about right. I put it on the plate with the chicken.

The kitchen stretched and twitched its whiskers.

I got out my little white mixing bowl. It's just a perfect little crockery mixing bowl...but pretty small. Small was just right. I put a handful of flour in it, sprinkled in a little salt, a mere pinch of baking powder and then took my bowl to the spigot and ran some warmish water into it, stirred it up, kneaded it a little bit and rolled out a nice thin tortilla. I put my tortilla in the pan with some more oil. Fried it on one side. Fried it on the other side, and piled my chicken and onions on top of it.

The kitchen stretched and sat on its haunches.

I got the hot sauce and blooped it all over the chicken and onions.
I got the lettuce and cut a pile of lettuce over it.
I opened the sour cream and added some and drizzled a little Vidalia Onion Honey Mustard dressing on it, (from Woodside Kitchen, which makes the best dressing).

The kitchen began to flick the tip of its tail back and forth, back and forth..

I shredded just a little cheddar over it and and attempted to close the tortilla over top of it. Pfft.
Okay, so now what?
I got it over to my plate. It took all my hands and several pancake turners and custom tortilla-transferring skills.
I took a bite.

The kitchen purred. And smiled. I saw it smile. I think.