Letter from the Vineyard February 1st, 2022 Fresh fallen snow should remind…

If Edgartown Books is closed, it’s because Mathew can’t get out of his driveway…

Letter from the Vineyard

February 1st, 2022

Fresh fallen snow should remind…

            From my living room window, on the 29th, I looked out to trees, a clump of holly bushes, all dappled with white, the wind blowing the still falling snow horizontally to the window, some of my windows whited out by clinging snow; ten to twelve inches, at least, sat on the patio table. 

            A nor’easter, a bombogenesis, a storm for the books, roared onto the island during the night.  Before leaving the store on Friday evening, I left the sign above on the door in case it became the day it did become.  I didn’t attempt to leave my driveway.  From my vantage spot just out my door, it didn’t look like anyone attempted leaving their drives either – Hamblen Way was unmarked by vehicles.

            Gave me a day to cuddle into the house, do a load of laundry between power surges, listen to music when the internet was up and revel in silence when it was down, to have a couple of good phone conversations, read a couple of magazines, cook myself a simple meal, pull something from the freezer for dinner Sunday, do a little thinking, moments not often found when the world hasn’t stopped.

            The world hadn’t stopped anywhere but here, in my little corner of it, giving me a chance to catch up on it.

            Ukraine’s president urges the US to tamp down its war talk about Russia invading his country, while Russia is stockpiling blood near Ukraine’s border. It seems to me, Putin is attempting to reassemble the Tsarist Empire or the Soviet one, wanting everyone to know he is a big deal.

            Caused me to ponder why Xi, Putin and everyone who runs a country won’t start thinking less about territorial ambitions and more about human needs?  I know, I know…

            Boris Johnson is still Prime Minister.  Will he be by week’s end?  Let the betting pools begin. Oh, wait, they already have!

            While I watched the snow fall, my stomach did too, as there seems to be a new Omicron variant at play, more virulent than this one.  At my age, I suspect I’ll be wearing a mask until I meet my maker.  For those who take covid seriously, there is a sense of following on in the British tradition of “Keep Calm, Carry On,” with our N95 masks rather than gas masks.

            Anti-vaxxers are as virulent and vocal as they’ve been, which means quite virulent and very vocal.  Robert Kennedy, Jr.? Really.  Well, the performance of a parent isn’t always a good predictor of the behavior of a child.

            As I watched the snow swirl, I read it was expected Tom Brady would retire after 22 seasons.  Or not. While not a member of the cult of football, I am respectful he is one of the greatest athletes of our times. 

            Judge Breyer is retiring from the Supreme Court.  Let the games begin. 

            And while watching the snow swirl, fall, blow, accumulate, I thought of long-ago Minnesota winters. During one, my 7th grade year, in the weeks after my father had died, my friend of longest standing, Sarah, showed up at our backdoor one night, her brother John in tow, to get me out sledding.  It had been a hard day.  Sister Jeron, our Benedictine nun teacher, had whacked me with a Gregorian Hymnal for what I thought was no good reason during the school day. 

I can still see Sarah’s face in the storm door glass, white snow glistening outside, the silence of an evening after fresh fallen snow. We sledded my pain away.

Such was my Saturday night, filled with the silence of fresh fallen snow, my immediate world quieted by necessity while beyond this world, the madding crowds were doing their worldly work, mucking up the planet with wars, rumors of wars, politics and punditry, grift and greed, plundering, pillaging, literally, figuratively, flaunting the rules one has made [Boris?], spying, being spied upon, all the messy things humans do and who should be reminded not to do them when contemplating the perfect purity of fresh fallen snow.

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