Age is a very strange thing. You are a child, then you are young and these days, you are young for a very long time. Young really up through your fifties and for many people, pretty youthful into their sixties. Then, it changes. Maybe a little. Sometimes a lot and quite suddenly.
The face that has been almost the same since your twenties is different. Older. Not just wrinkles, but there’s a “look” of maturity that tells the world — and you — that’s you’ve been around. You’ve seen a lot. You know things. Older eyes are different and it’s impossible to explain what that means. It doesn’t mean they do not sparkle with joy, but there is a knowingness that is missing in young eyes.
This year has vanished even faster than usual. In fact, this entire last decade has been a wink and a shrug. I do not feel older this year than last. Actually, I feel better this year than last, but I’ve been gradually recovering from earlier surgeries and it’s nice that there’s a semblance of progress. Still, I sometimes don’t understand how I got here. I remember the years. I mostly remember what I was doing for most of them … but how do they add up to such a big number?
Yet here I am.
This twirling, whirling, busy world is a bauble in the great universe and we are just little crawly dots on its surface. In the even greater scheme of things, we are barely here at all. I’m not sure whether or not that perspective is comforting or chilling. Maybe both?
From Nancy Merrill: While it might seem a bit cliché, literally none of us would be here without women. All of our lives have been touched by women: mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, sisters. I was fortunately enough to take family photos for this wonderful group of women (and the men in their lives). What a great legacy.
I wasn’t sure what to post for this. Women have always been my strength, my closest friends, the people who understood me when no one else had a clue. So I finally decided to make a gallery of the great women I have loved. I don’t have enough pictures, though.
1945 – Garry’s mom and dad … and Garry, too
My mother and her sisters. 1953. Queens, New York.
We lost power in a big wind and rain storm a few weeks ago. Our power was out for 24 hours but we didn’t suffer much at all. We have a generator that powers most of the house. We had most of our lights and our heat was on, as was our refrigerator and freezer. The toilets all flushed. So we were in pretty good shape.
Except that our internet was out, which meant no phones, no texting, no emails. Our only means of communication was our fax machine phone, which is a land line not connected to the cloud. So I could let people know that we were okay but would be incommunicado for a while.
Everything should have been fine. But we were freaked out! We have become so dependent on the internet that we went into a mini withdrawal. The newspapers we read obsessively are all online. Facebook is a valued part of my day. I’m used to being in constant contact with friends and family.
It’s weird how discombobulated we felt during our 24 hours offline. I read actual books and played games on my phone a lot. Tom watched MSNBC 24/7. So we adapted.
Flash forward a few weeks. We were expecting a blizzard with high accumulations of snow. We got snow but nowhere near the amount expected. Great. We dodged a bullet.
Except that the snow was very heavy and coated the trees that are all around us. Tree limbs were cracking like twigs all over the county, and probably the state. Power lines went down right and left. We lost power again, as did 40% of our town. Our trusty generator kicked right in, but, as usual, we did lose internet and phones.
Initially we also lost our TV reception because the snow-covered our satellite dish. This was unacceptable to Tom. He could only take so much technology deprivation at one time. So he went outside, in the cold and dark, to try to McGyver the snow off our very tall roof. He decided he would use the garden hose to blast the snow off the satellite dish. It was a comedy of errors. One hose was broken. The other hose, that was on the wrong side of the house, was frozen to the house socket. He tried numerous other tactics, to no avail.
After an hour of freezing and lots of cursing, Tom gave up. He came back into the house, changed out of his cold and soaking wet clothes and sat down in his favorite chair. He was frustrated and defeated.
POOF! Suddenly the TV just came back on! The snow must have melted or fallen off of the satellite dish. We were back in business, TV wise. So Tom could get his news fix. But we still felt disconnected – literally and figuratively. We were going to have to hunker down and deal with it for up to two days before power was restored to our area.
But we were in much better shape than our friends a few streets away. They don’t have a generator. And my friend works from home so she can’t be without internet access. In addition, my friend’s mother has cancer and is on a feeding tube, which relies on power to work. Her power was also out. So my friend had to pack up her mom, with all her medications and medical equipment, and move to a hotel suite in a neighboring town. My friend could work there but the hotel doesn’t take dogs, so she had to put her dog in a kennel. What a mess!
When I was a kid, losing power was an adventure involving lots of candles and cooking over the fire in the fireplace. We often had to move food from our frig and freezer to a friend’s house who had power. We also had to try to bring water in from the swimming pool so we could flush our toilets. It was a hardship, but somehow we made it into a fun time working with our family to survive the crisis.
Today, without power, we are in the lap of luxury compared to the old days of my childhood. Yet somehow it feels worse. It’s no fun. It’s not an exciting challenge. It’s just a kind of isolation that is very uncomfortable. This is one time when I do miss the good old days!
I am directionally challenged and never know which way I’m supposed to be going. There’s a certain futility to my progress through the roads of the world. I can read a map — fortunately — but most maps don’t show small, local roads, so once I’m off the main highway, I’m lost again.
It doesn’t stop us from traveling, but it does make us stop and worry. It used to be that the GPS would always get us there … but that was before they started sending us through dirt roads in woods, back roads leading to collapsed bridges or that other road in Boston that has the same name but isn’t where the hospital is located.
Or to the wrong building of the same hospital. And as often as not, down a one-way street, the wrong way.
I print out directions. I bring the GPS on the theory it might actually help — but it rarely does. And we get there — maybe half the time.
This year winter came late, but when it finally did, it hit us intensely with tons of snow and storm winds. Snow even appeared on the streets of Rome and Venice. I did not go south to capture it, but here is a scene from a small town nested amidst Italian mountains. I apologize to my friends in the Southern hemisphere for this theme, but I hope they can find something to interpret it: it does not have to be a new photo, or a photo of a landscape/town scene. It can be a reminder of winter, sort of a memento. Whatever you choose as a subject, I very much look forward to seeing your interpretations. Take your time posting. I will look at your entries next week. Wishing you all a happy Thursday!
Winter came early. The first snow was Christmas day, but then there was a lag and it was January before we got a blizzard and a run of three relatively heavy snows in a row. A few more in early February, then a lot of grey, warmish days.
As March came around, I hoped we’d seen the last snowfall. Not a chance. We had another last night. It was supposed to be a big one, but we got lucky and only got the bottom edge.
We didn’t get the worst of it. It started late here, so we got about 4 inches — but heavy, wet snow that had all the trees bent over when I got up this morning. By the time I got around to taking a few pictures, much of the snow on the trees had fallen off — rather like a second snowfall.
Our snow plow guy vanished. By two this afternoon, it was obvious we were going to have to get someone else in. The guy who finally came miscalculated where the driveway ended and plowed up the entire backyard. Whatever hope I had of grass just became mud with tire ruts.
He didn’t charge us for the wreckage and was really apologetic, with many promises of returning to fix the mess — and it is a serious mess. At least it was a free mess.
Although I’d like this to be “the end,” there another snow forecast for Monday. I am so tired of winter! Even the beauty of the scenery cannot get me interested. I have had it. But it’s March and sometimes March is very heavy with snow. Especially what we had today, that heavy wet snow that breaks the trees from its weight.
Here’s hoping for a less weighty remainder of March.
As a side note, our road isn’t properly plowed either. I think they ran out of money for plowing. It wouldn’t be the first time.
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