Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Digging Out

Just a short post tonight. I'm feeling very tired.

For the last few days, our little city (and the bigger one across the river) have been chockablock with snow. I watched on Monday as the ambulances ran two ways down the only open road in town and plows and busses and flatbeds and tow trucks and other vehicles that you never see get stuck - get stuck. I watched and tried to stay patient and enjoy the enforced slowness that the aftermath of a blizzard can bring.

We're three days into the aftermath now and life is just beginning to pick up it's pace again. I'm seeing people walk a bit more briskly on the sidewalks and fewer folks stop to look at the shape of a strange snow drift or a fully buried car.

I'll miss this time a little - for all that I want things to get back to normal - because it reminds me that things can be different. A little change in the temperature and the barometer and we're all subjects of a different kingdom for a few days. And it's not such a bad place to reside; as long as the monarch doesn't cut the power, I'm just fine.

Have a good night.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


My car has been buried and our road has gone unplowed this week, so I've been working in the city. I'm lucky in that I have an office in the suburbs, but can sit in with my clients in Manhattan almost as often as I want. Typically this is once a week, but I've been traveling there each day since Monday.

I take something called the Path when I travel to the city. For anyone whose not familiar with New Jersey, the Path is a subway that connects Manhattan with Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark. It's relatively reliable and inexpensive ($1.75/ride) and it runs all day and all night.

There's something about that ride in and out of the city, in the lighted car, screeching and jolting along the dark track under the Hudson River. So many people crowded in together, each a stranger to the other, each with their own thoughts and cares.

They mostly try to ignore the discomfort of the trip and the presence of other people - I try too; sometimes I'm successful. But there's something also between those many people, who manage to be jostled and shaken and moved by the train and everyone around them and still manage to behave far far better than they would on any freeway above ground.

I think sometimes when I'm on that trip, surrounded by those other souls, between what I have to do and where I want to be, that time is rushing by or over in the dark beyond the windows. I feel like I'm not in a subway at all, but instead in a capsule that for a moment allows me to pass by all the lives and paths that I will never know but only be aware of as a great sweep of noise and movement beyond the little light of my life.

I'm tired I guess, and probably a little loopy - I have a tendency to fly into the sublime when I'm tired. There's a new year coming up tomorrow too, and I'm sure that's put me in a reflective mood as well - the years move faster than they used now.

But the subway is a comfort to me - as it is for many city dwellers. Because even though it's not always convenient and not always clean or even safe, it's a reliable passage between the places I need to be. And unlike the dreams that ferry me from one day to the next, I know I am not dreaming, and though I may be a stranger to those around me, I am not alone.

Good night and good luck in the new year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I haven't heard thunder in a snowstorm since I was a kid growing up in Boston, which tells me how much power is out there tonight. I feel sometimes, when I see the great swirl of clouds from a satellite image that some continent sized hand is stirring the atmosphere with a wooden spoon that would make the Empire State Building look like a toothpick.

How small the weather can still make me feel; small like I used to feel when my father would swing me up on his shoulders. Small and full of wonder.

I had the kids out this morning while the snow was still just a dancing of dust and the sidewalks looked as if someone had just sprinkled powdered sugar on them. Bundled up in their coats and snow pants and boots, they ran around chasing snowflakes at our local park for a good 45 minutes or so before I brought them back for a hot lunch.

I'm glad now I got them out. The rest of the day proved unbearable. And it's amazing how just a little time out in the fresh air gives them some peace. The both went to sleep without a fight after baths tonight.

I'm watching the snow mount up into great fantastic shapes like white elephants above the cars outside, half stunned at how beautiful it is, and half wondering if we'll lose power tonight - I sure hope not.

A winter storm is a wonder and a worry.

I think about what the morning will be like tomorrow. Checking email to see what the attendance policy will be at work, shoveling out the walk, watching the kids bounce off the walls, listening to see when the sun and the temperatures will begin to clear the roads down to pavement again. Best not to think of it I guess.

And sometimes I can forget tomorrow for a while. I'll look at the weather and try to feel like I'm small again. Like I'm five or eight or eleven and my only thought for the storm was whether there would be enough snow to cancel school and go sledding.

Good night.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Easy Morning

It's my first day off, a real day off with no calls from work (fingers crossed) since our vacation this summer. It's the first day I can sit with my kids here at home and really relax. No therapy visits to manage, no school to get our daughter ready for - just a day at home.

The kids are watching Go Diego Go and I'm happy to let Diego go go go as much as he wants. When it warms up a bit we'll go the park.

I also had time to put seed out front for the little gang of House Wrens that peckle for food on our block. They're popping in and out of the baskets and dishes on the ledge of our picture window.

In the old days, before the kids I mean, I would be out looking for something to do on a quiet day. Not now. I know I just have to wait a bit and something will turn up on its own. One of the kids will have an idea or someone will come to visit or we'll take a walk to the park and something will turn up.

On a busy day those little interruptions are another speed bump - today they're like house flowers peeking out from a window on a cold day.

I'll try to wrap up quickly. I've probably got about five minutes before the next event comes bouncing along like one of my kids many playground balls.

But I wanted to put a quick note out to say we're having a good day here; a good day near the end of the year and that's a very good thing to me.

Wish you all the best of the holidays and a good start to the new year. All is well.