Friday, January 21, 2011


Yes, Jack London wouldn't think it's that bad at all. I should remove my flowery robe, dress in thickness, and go outside to tromp. The wind isn't even whistling; wolves from an upper NW pack have not even descended into my state. The one to three mountain lions spotted in rural areas do not like this university town. A malicious deer with a weaponry rack only exists in the imagination of a city-slicker.

It's tame. Each sequestered back yard here might have a cat's trail, or a squirrel's brush, or a dog's plow marking the snowscape. Yesterday, I saw one terrified deer bounding into our yard and over the neighbor's fence, marking wide leaps of horror. Yet no danger exists.

I could go outside and walk off this fancy cabin malaise. When I was younger, I always did just that, dressing in old green coveralls and an old Chiefs hat, some old tennis shoes, some old black work gloves. I would dodge the heat wave from Mom's wood stove. I would dodge the loudness of Dad's television. I would dodge getting involved in the third book of the day. The cold air would hit; the dog would fall in behind; freedom came from striding down the hill, past the pond not quite safe for skating, past the summer's blackberry bushes, past the Mulberry playhouse tree with the old teakettle swinging coldly from a branch. Finally, into the back acreage; finally down the steep hill where the quartz rock could always sparkle to be found. Down to the secret pond, surrounded by cedar, and away from everything.

I never was not greeted graciously in the winter-time outside. Some sort of beauty awaited. Some sort of treat presented itself. Some type of freedom assented inside my spirit.

I would focus on small things, and they would focus back, like two aliens studying each other's habits; two aliens living under each others' noses until one says, "Hello" and the other says, "Finally!"

Prayer and love, or release from loneliness, or spiritual un-chokedness would always happen. In the winter-time, the desperation for such would be extreme. In the winter-time, such outlines inside and outside just occurred. The snow on the branches gave me pause; the greyish ice on the spring-fed pond made me think; the sound of the branches spoke. Wow, I'm a bit crazy like Thoreau and Wordsworth themselves! Yet when a country girl needed a vacation which was never taken otherwise because of money, she could find it on the land -- the Ozarkian land especially. I don't know what the crazed city kids did, and for them, I feel sympathy.

When walking back up the steep, rocky hill towards our small house, I would be ready for it again. Another night of television or books and thick wood heat. Another cancellation of school or basketball practice. Another grapple with closeness, sounds and silence.

I think I must try to walk today outside. I think I will just be one of those neighborhood women who walk to shape up. I think I must go find a creek bed too if possible.

Amen and amen.

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