Today is warmer, in the forties, and cloudy. We had flurries of snow Christmas eve and Day which buoyed our spirits. Both days were cold by local standards.
This followed a two day storm of rain and intense wind. There are limbs down everywhere still; after all the storms we have had this year one would think there would be no weak limbs left to fall. Several local communities experienced significant flooding which served to remind us that so far sea-level has risen some 3-5 inches over the baseline, locally with 2-3 feet of rise (maybe more) by 2050. I find this very difficult to wrap my mind around.
Here we stand on the Fourth Day of Christmas, halfway between Christmas and New Years. We’ve gained about seven minutes of daylight since the solstice and continue to gain a minute per day or so. Soon it will be two minutes, then three as the Earth spins towards spring here in the northern hemisphere.
There is something odd about approaching the end of December with no measurable snow to date and temperatures in the fifties. Our local weather service is crowing about the coming warmth, yet given the general lack of snow and cold, our January thaw seems anticlimactic.
I’ve been hobbled by my Covid knee, so way too much of the work has fallen on Jennie. Yesterday we found out that I apparently damaged cartilage in the knee during one of the falls so we are now waiting to see whether the cortisol injection does the trick or I need micro-surgery for a repair. In the meanwhile I have taken to using the rolling walkers we have in reserve, which I probably should have been doing all along. Oddly, this does not feel like a defeat, for which I am pleased.
There is nothing quite as effective as the Holidays at reminding one of one’s isolation. We moved here just before Covid lockdown and have not been able to build an extended community. We dearly miss friends, holiday parties, and communal snow removal excursions.
As the light builds we remember that the light returns in good times and bad, and that it’s promise of spring and warmth remains even when our human condition seems perilous. It is good to remember that for most of our three odd million year history, we have watched the changing seasons and awaited relief from the cold and dark (or dry and hot).
I suspect most of us have a great deal of difficulty grasping that our collective actions are undoing the predictability and safety we have come to know and depend on. We seem so small compared to the planet, yet there are a great many of us and our collective impacts are large. Here in the wealthier countries our impacts are great indeed, increasingly driving poorer people and a wide array of plants and animals to the brink. Although most of us may not notice, change is afoot and it is dire.
All that said, we approach the turning year with hope. Jennie gave me a small semi-modular synthesizer for Chrismaka, and it sits beside me as I type. I’m feeling a bit intimidated by the learning curve it brings, but also excited to discover what I might make with it. I guess I’ll be watching more YouTube videos, although I have already discovered that the modular-synth course I took during the autumn (I’m still learning from it) has left me with a greater understanding of the instrument than I at first thought. Certainly learning something completely new is an act of hope, eh?
May this week bring you comfort, friendship, and joy, and may the coming year fill your life with creativity.