silverback gorilla (jcruelty) wrote,
silverback gorilla

Strategies against winter

I want to climb a mountain. Not so I can get to the top — just cause I want to hang out at base camp. That seems fucking fun as shit. You sleep in a colorful tent, you grow a beard, you drink hot chocolate, you walk around… “Hey, you going to the top?” — “Soon.” -- Mitch Hedberg (RIP)

Recently on, someone asked how to not hate winter. As a chronic and confirmed lifelong winter hater, my interest was piqued. I read through the responses eagerly, wondering what advice the collective hordes would offer with respect to the gloomiest and doomiest of seasons.

Some of the suggestions were predictably rubbish. Start snowboarding? Move to SoCal? You might as well ask me to "grow a lustrous fur coat."

Many people stressed the importance of keeping your castle warm, cozy and clean. Decorate, decorate. That was the oblique strategy inside Conor's fortune cookie. It's nice to have projects to come home to.

fig a: Liska scoffed when I registered for Magnetix. Now who's scoffing?!?!

Some people suggested going for nature walks, to appreciate winter's beauty. Certainly winter presents landscapes that can stir your soul. We got a taste of this in NZ, when we were hiking through the mountains of Mt. Aspiring National Park. It was spring there, and the first day was sunny and clear. It was so warm that we almost went for a swim in the lake by our hut. When we awoke the next morning, everything was covered in snow!

The amount of snowfall turned out to be perfect-- it was just enough to blanket the world in white, but not so much that the alpine crossing was closed. Walking up the mountain, through snowflakes, we got lost in the beauty of our surroundings. I could see why some people actually look forward to winter rather than dreading it.

But then again.

Today I went out back to water my garden, a.k.a. "the three potted plants on our back patio." There used to be more. Winter is coming and my plants are slowly dying.

When I first planted them they were tiny seeds, and I watched them grow steadily through summer, till they were nearly three feet tall. When the flowers finally bloomed, their glistening yellow-red pedals were so vivid it was sexual. You could see bees buzzing by and doing a double take.

I started my garden for two reasons: one, to verify that plants actually grow from seeds, and two, if it actually happened, to capture the process using time lapse photography.

As a test of the "general plant hypothesis," the garden experiment was a success. It's true-- plants really do come out of those little seeds. I owe somebody a beer.

Unfortunately, I neglected to read sentence 1 of page 1 of Time Lapse Photography for Dummies[1], so my time-lapse image was a failure. It didn't matter. I got a lot of pleasure out of tending the plants over months, watching them split recursively into progressively smaller parts that replicated the whole. Sometimes I would come home from work and spend the last few minutes of sunlight just staring at these unexpectedly vibrant forms of life.

WOEs, now the flowers are shriveled and black. I should have grown corn instead. Corn farmers don't get attached to their corn.

Days are cubes of light
That equal each other
Whether anything happens in them or not,
No matter what anyone did or didn't do,
They are equal.

The emptiest are lovely,
Though one is drawn to the bright-edged shards
Of days that cracked
From disappointment and longing.

Some days I go looking for oceans.
If I find one I search the beach
For the teeth I left
In a glass of water
In a motel room in Nebraska.

I'm losing the ability to tremble.
I find appearances helpful.
Some days I go looking for the sky.

-James Galvin

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