Monday, January 12, 2015

December, 2014: Melting

(I have been challenging myself to write a short essay each week and posting it, even if not finished. This is not quite finished, but it gets posted anyway.)

All across the long wall ran two rows of square windows, each perhaps half the size of those old-fashioned sash & casing windows, but the wall was long, the length of the medical building and two stories tall. From across the lobby/waiting room the sixteen windows offered a punctuated view of the hillside that defined the horizon, softened now by a blue-grey fine mizzle that occasionally bloomed into rain, the undulating lines of the ridgeline lost and swallowed in the cloaking mists as the velvety-green, just-quickened fields flowed down the slopes and across the fields towards us. Each window offered its own square composition of hillside and mizzle, some with sections of soft-focus white farm buildings, others with the orange-leafed trees of fall.

The windows say take what you can, make what you will of this lopsided, melting world. Look how these square frames set things to rights, how they sequence the landscape dissolving in the essence of time. These pushed-up tectonic wrinkles were once the bottom of an ancient sea; now they are slip-sliding under the green-mantled fields that even just yesterday were cracked and blistered, with dusty, baked-brittle grass cropped short by cattle, stunted by drought.  These squares stop the motion of time for this instant; we watch the skies bless the land with water,  we witness the grass, the hills take what they need, make what they will, the moment opportunity strikes. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014, A Brief Reflection

The word for 2014 had been comfort but from from day one, comfort was elusive. The loss of my mother-in-law on New Year's Day set the tone and agenda for months to come - and in some ways, still does.  I was also in the middle of my first full year of teaching at the community college level and really not comfortable in this new skin, for the learning curve is steep, rocky and full of treacherous missteps.

I will not overload you with all the ways comfort was mis-read into the year, for they were many; they were various; they were both niggling and overwhelming in turn.

Of course, the universal solution to all discomfort is a new kitten.


And even as this half-grown creature, Oscar WildeBeest, terrorized the 17-year-old, who was, shall we say, NOT impressed, there was much joy watching his aerobatic twists and turns chasing toy mice, leaping for the flicking insect on the end of the wand (aka kitty-fishing).  It was all fun and games until the night before Halloween, when Oscar tripped me racing for the bait; I stepped on his tail and in the ensuing commotion fell  straight  down on my wrist, fracturing the knobby end of it. No, not exactly comfortable.
The cast and the critter who created it. 

It was Halloween Day, just after the SF Giants won their third World Series when I went in for x-rays, so orange and black are doing double duty on the cast.

For the tail end of the semester, I alternated awkwardly between rudimentary hunt-and-peck techniques on the keyboard and voice-recognition software, which worked pretty well, I thought, until I found this sentence in my journal: "I often find changing my closer gains my jammies that I have to take my shirt off I try to take my cast-off reach over Iceland get this thing off."

No, I can offer no real translation.

Am I ready for a new year?  You betcha.