Early February

A sunny day, something of a miracle following days of intermittent freezing rain. The other evening rain fell on our deeply frozen world while we were at work, covering the sidewalk and parking lot in ice. Jennie somehow managed to get to the van, brought it close to our building, and hauled our bags to it without falling. I realized my crutches would slip on the ice so, having left my ice tips at home, I crawled on all fours to the van. Now, the strengthening February sun throws deep, blue tinged, shadows across the landscape as I watch from the safety of the studio.

I am listening to music by Ernest Bloch, appropriate for Friday I suppose. Last night I listened to Mahler who was also Jewish. Mahler is not one of my favorite composers, although like Beethoven, he has grown on me as I have aged. Bloch, on the other hand, has long felt like a close and intimate friend.

I am trying to recover from an asthma flair triggered by the every present cigarette smoke in Spain. Coming home to frigid conditions did not help. I am learning the intersection between Post-Polio and asthma, and finding the space challenging. Both feature fatigue, and together…. well. Of course, there is also the issue of finding breathing difficult, an alarming experience at best, and perhaps more so for those of us who were in the iron lung.

We are still in deep winter, the snow pack somehow surviving our repeated bouts of rain. Our New England winter fields and woods are truly beautiful, still very much as Robert Frost painted them in his poetry. Here and there in the forest one comes across a birch tree bent almost to the ground by the weight of accumulated snow and ice, looking so fragile one becomes reticent to swing on it least it break.


19 thoughts on “Early February

  1. Sending warm thoughts your way, Michael. It’s clod here, too, with temps below zero and gusty winds, rearranging the new foot of snow. Grateful, though, for snow rather than freezing rain… ❤

  2. Last night it was as if an ardent lover were throwing pebbles at my window to get my attention…but it was only the wind blowing ice from the branches. My daughter will be singing Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the Madison Symphony Chorus (and a few hundred others) in May. Steve & I are so excited! Steve is a huge Mahler fan…and Beethoven fan. I sang the Bloch Sacred Service in college. Music is a spiritual expression, an those are some of the masters of the genre.

    1. How exciting! I studied for part of a semester with John Cage who reframed much music for us students, pointing out to us young folk that the very best music, now matter how apparently secular, is deeply seated in the sacred. I am deeply grateful to him.

      1. Cage was artist in residence at the University of Cincinnati. I was in school in Dayton but spent much of my time at UC. Cage did a lot of open sessions, some with Merce Cunningham and David Tudor, so I went whenever I was able. It was all great fun and expansive. I was an art student and usually the non-music arts folks were in the majority. I hold that time very close as it was certainly life changing.

      2. Yes, his ideas on silence were seminal. He also convinced a bunch of us to study mycology which got me into foraging for ‘shrooms and incorporating cultured soil fungi into my artwork in grad school.

    1. Thank you, Andrea. The old has abated somewhat, and much of our snow has melted, but that should be replenished Tuesday and Wednesday before yet another warm up. As for me, slowly I seem to be mending.

    1. Hi Lara,
      I am feeling better and hope you are feeling the same. Our snow has been much reduced but is likely to grow again with the midweek storm. We will take all the snow we can get as it represents our summer water supply. The ice is another ting altogether…..

      1. I removed a sheet of icy snow off the car this morning Michael. More like breaking snow. It’s a very strange winter indeed but yes, we need much more snow. xox

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