The snow piled up until we were able to do something that’s never been possible in the six winters we’ve spent here in Paradise. We buckled up and went XC skiing right from the door of our garage. There’s a biking/walking path starting there that leads to open fields a quarter-mile away. It wasn’t a groomed trail by any means, but our skinny skis had more than enough white stuff under them to make it fun.
Something we both like to do is read the animal tracks in new snow. Day to day we don’t see much of these creatures, like the foxes, raccoons, rabbits, and skunks, but they leave clear traces of their night’s travels in the snow.
We have a neighbor a few houses up the street who has a video camera scanning his back yard at night, and each evening he puts out a dish of kibbled food. I asked him yesterday if anything new or noteworthy had shown up on the video recording, and he said: “No, mostly it’s just trash pandas and a couple of feral cats.”
Trash panda is his name for raccoons.
As I was musing the other day … musing being something that I do quite a lot of since it requires so little energy and I hardly break a sweat … I thought how much repair and maintenance the process of aging requires of us.
Each morning there are the bathroom rituals that we must perform so that when we exit that safe space into society we don’t look as muddle-headed as we feel. Many of those rituals involve hair. Not the hair atop our heads, which grows alarmingly thinner with time, but that which pops out of places it needn’t and in directions it shouldn’t. So some shaving and plucking is often in order.
Then those modified hairs, which are the fingernails and toenails, come into focus. During each day they look for ways to chip and fragment themselves, having become brittle and unreliable. If one doesn’t give them proper attention each morning they will go about their business of snagging on anything they can, socks and sweaters being regular victims.
Did I mention the slathering of ointments and creams on one’s integument to stave off that parched look? The swallowing of tablets guaranteed to reduce the chance of croaking before the end of the day by 0.124 %? And fiber – don’t get me started on fiber! Suffice it to say that the Metamucil years are in full flower.
I could go on. Actually, I already have, and since there is no end to this sort of dissertation, I will simply stop here.
Our Buddha’s hat has been added-to. He remains serene as ever.
Today is New Year’s’ Eve. The last time we threw a party on this date, not one person attending was still present at our house by midnight, all of them having already headed home for those beds that called so strongly.
At least I think they were all gone, because by 11 P.M. Robin and I were fast asleep. And that was nearly two decades ago. Somehow the fascination of watching the ball drop at Times Square has diminished. And looking at the crowds on television I no longer imagine how exciting it must be to be a part of that expectant throng, but instead I think: What a field day it must be for pickpockets.
As you can surmise, a party animal I am not.
A New Year’s Eve recollection. I was a kid, staying at Grandpa Jacobson’s farm for the holidays. The day being a special one, I was allowed to stay up until midnight with the adults, listening to radio broadcasts of celebrations in New York City.
The heat in that small dwelling was provided by an oil burning stove in the center of the living room. A black pipe led from the stove to the wall and thence the chimney.
At the stroke of midnight, Grandpa would take a piece of blue carpenter’s chalk and write the number of the New Year on that pipe. That number would remain there until 365 days later, when it would be wiped away and the new one inscribed. The year I am remembering the number was 1949.
I’m pretty sure that by 12: 05 I was sound asleep.