The geese that pass by my window seem to tumble rather than fly. Like toddlers stumbling ataxic down a hill, or dead turkeys, un-plucked and still with their heads, flung from a catapult out of sight or off scene.
They make no noise, passing too close to the house, reminding me, by the wrongness of their locomotion and the wrongness of their proximity, of the larger wrongness of their even being here in february.
I miss the spring. For the first time in my life, I concur with those constant whiners who call for winter’s end at the first degree’s drop, the first flake’s fall. We’ve had no major sticking snowstorms, it’s time for that or for the weather to move on.
Normally, I embrace the winter. I like a place that has defined seasons, the temperate zones like that in which PA sits. I like being shockingly cold in the winter so as to make the indoor warmth rewarding, I like the oppressive summer heat that makes the cooler nights something special. Spring signals the reawakening of all my favorite forms of life and fills all the cracks and crevices in this awkward city with flowers and green. Fall is my favorite time, cool enough for my comfort, but warm enough not to demand the constant encumbrance of cold weather armor. It marks the culmination of all the other seasons, the dead, planning calm of winter, the sudden prodigious burst of spring, and the long, open-heartedness of summer’s productive growing and accepted daytime drinking. Fall marks the year’s successes as a grower and even if one’s own are wanting, there’s a holiday set aside for feasting so that one doesn’t feel a complete failure regardless of his personal yield.
But today, it is only cold. The unsettled joint in my back still pains me. The depression I’ve found so troublesome for the past few months still enervates me. My house, my writing, and my academic life are still a mess.
Today, for no other reasons than the passage of stumbling, stupid, winter time geese and because there’s no special reason against it, is a bleak day.
Work will be done. I’ll write, I’ll clean. I’ll run errands. But I won’t really be a part of it. Today the me that walks and the me that thinks are separated by a contemplative difference. The latter me is content to hide in the innermost chamber of my head as a mollusk shell. Today I am the hermit, or hermit crab, tucked back, visible only as an immutable thing a part of the scenery, not a living, scuttling, active being.