Awaiting The Turning Year

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.

17 thoughts on “Awaiting The Turning Year

  1. Sorry about the knee issue (and pain?). And the isolation you’re feeling. And the weather! Sounds like the increasing daylight and learning new things are keeping you hopeful. Here we have a foot or two of snow on the ground, but we got rain last weekend (so ice formed on the ground after the temps plummeted to 8F that night), and the same is in store this weekend and most of next week, rain and high temps between 35-55 (and lows between 19 and 38) This warmth and winter rain is very unusual for us. Makes snowshoeing difficult!

    1. Yes, it has been a very strange winter. Portents of things to come I guess. Do be careful on that ice. And, yes there is some knee pain altho it is the instability that is most challenging. Anyway, we are all headed into a warm, rainy New Year and a couple of weeks to come….. Not good.

  2. I’ve always hankered to learn an instrument. I’m a frustrated musician. Or musician wannabe. Not must have time outside my other creative endeavours though. Hope you’re knee improves, I’ve been suffering with my back. I call it my ‘postman’s back.’ It seems all ex-postman suffer with either their knees or their backs. I will try and convince them to reach you with that Christmas Pudding though!

    1. I hope you are successful re the pudding. It does seem that all the post-postpeople I know suffer some impacts. Anyway, this foray into synthesizers is way off from my usual creative pursuits, As advertised it is a very deep rabbit warren, especially as I am also a non musician….. fun tho.

  3. This has been a Christmas of “awaiting” for us, too. We had to cancel our Christmas Eve. family celebration because of ice, snow, sub-zero temps and cyclone force winds. This went continued through Christmas and then we had to cancel Monday’s gathering with our son’s family because our daughter-in-law was sick. It felt like a repeat of last Christmas with the covid isolation. I also worry about all of the flu and colds that are being passed around. Our daughter is visiting for the holidays so we have been working lots of cross-word puzzles. I am eager to get back to my quilt-making. I think it is wonderful that you are learning music making to carry you through the next couple of months. Not having a social network is so difficult.

    1. Hi Pat,
      Yes, a strange Christmas indeed. While we had heavy rain and wind, the cold brought only a few snow showers which were festive. Cold here meant a high in the twenties so warm relative to our northern Vermont experience. I am sorry to hear that so much of your celebration was cancelled. While I love snowstorms, they an be immensely disruptive and dangerous. This was always a risk when I lived in the southern Rockies and the weather was unpredictable. Getting snowed in could be fun or dangerous depending. Anyway, I am slowly decoding the synth and looking forward to the fun to come. Hope your New Year is a lot easier!

  4. Hi Michael…so sorry to hear about your knee 😦 Though all joints are important, when the knees are hurt it seems more debilitating to me (maybe because I have had many knew injuries…and surgeries – one time a piece of cartilage locked my knee straight…it wouldn’t bend at all!!)
    Sending all good energy for the start of this new year, and hope that you will be able to get out and commune soon!! Sweet Blessings!

    1. Oh, Lorrie, this is my first knee issue. I can’t imagine dealing with it multipole times. Anyway, I am far more mobile than I was, although I am carefully using crutches or the walker much of the time. That said, I really should put heat on that knee as I have not done so this morning.

      1. Sending all good wishes for continued healing and health, Michael. I am happy to hear that you are more mobile! Here’s to a new year filled with love and peace!

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