Thursday, February 18, 2010

A winter walk ... plus

Following one of my early-on rules that has well proven its worth, to get out of the house daily, in daylight, I headed out for a walk this afternoon, with a feather and purple Mardi Gras-style beads ... which sounds like the start of a very good or very bad joke, but it's not. You know, they just seemed to want a walk, too -- a little fresh winter air. Note: Fortunately for all concerned, I was wearing more than that, but those would be the perhaps-not-expected items. Well, those and the magenta ostrich-feather headdress. No, no, that one's a joke ... I don't seem to own one of those.

But, I saw far odder sights than anything I had with me, notably, people in shorts -- three of them! True, it was toasty-warm in the 40s today and the sun was out, but it wasn't that warm; I had layers: dark-gray turtleneck sweater, brown barn jacket, light-gray fleece gloves, and quickly added my cream fleece hat (secretly, I was dressing up as Switzerland). True, all of the shorts-wearers were either running or in workout wear, and one runner looked distinctly cold, with a hooded sweatshirt, hood up, clutched around her face. The wind had picked up, and warm, it wasn't. Crazy people.

I walked down Beacon, the main thoroughfare near me with a T line running down it. At the end, where the line originates, is, well, a Dunkin' Donuts, true, and a bunch of other shops and restaurants catering to the undergrad college kids in the adjacent areas of Allston/Brighton. There's also a defunct movie theater. And a park with a softball field. And a small parking lot -- a novelty in these parts. But, also -- really, the point I'm getting to -- the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, a big expanse of water with a path circling it, favored by runners and shivering dog walkers. The ground was complete slush from yesterday's bit of snow, melted in today's sun, and my aging UGGs were having none of it. I spotted a bench on the hillside, overlooking the snow-covered ice and scrambled on up. (True, nearly eating it in slippery slush a few times, but we're denied that comic relief.)

Once perched on the back of the bench, I could survey the scene: the frozen reservoir coated in snow, patterned from the wind. The ice had a few crevasses, little gaping splits showing water underneath. A few dark rock formations jutted out of the snow and ice. In a few places, snow was swept away, only ice showing; one patch a very light blue, oddly pretty, a frozen piece of tropics. The sun sat at the horizon; as soon as it began dropping below the trees in the distance, it was distinctly time to go.

Walking up the hillside, I spotted a few more benches; one had a wine glass with a few inches of water, sitting in the snow.

The way back took a stop at the Dunkin for a small cup of tea to warm the hands and insides. Chocolate-glazed doughnut temptation averted.

And now for the random portion of the program
  • OK, I think income awareness is steadily? hm, yes, perhaps steadily ratcheting up. In many senses, that's probably appropriate, maybe even helpful, but it's not entirely pleasant. More to come on that, surely.
  • Also, I have a heightened notice of/attention to the war, some uncomfortable awareness, a closer reading of news accounts. This is not particularly pleasant, but it's also somewhat welcome. It's bothered me for a while that my life is so untouched by the war. Part of the shift stems from meeting an interesting Marine recently, hearing a few stories. And part of it is from the article I'm writing for the veterans' organization. It has me beginning to think concretely about the returning veterans from these news accounts, how the organization is a good place they could come to be put back together, but knowing how few can be served there, and thinking about all the others. And not able to even remotely wrap my mind around where they've been or what they've been through, and what they have to go through on their return. So yeah, I'll take a little uncomfortable awareness.

  • And then this: sitting in my living room, looking around, thinking about furniture, about the pieces of my life these pieces have witnessed and taken part in. The silent observers.

  • Caught the gatos hanging out on the bed together -- three times, one day! History being made....

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