Archive for February 2011


Winter Night

February 22nd, 2011 — 3:08am

February 21, 2011

9 p.m.

The thermometer on a post in the yard says 4 degrees. The stars are crisp and Muskallonge Lake is creaking and groaning as if some great creature is just waking up underneath its frozen surface.

Just after we got home from work Rick came inside to tell me that the lake was making ice. He knows I love that. But I was busy with my take-out Chinese dinner (delivered all the way from Chicago by a friend this weekend), and with reading a book, and couldn’t be bothered to get up off the couch. I said, “Huh. Cool.”

I think he rolled his eyes and went back outside. I continued with my Mongolian beef and with the adventures the people in the book were having. But all through finishing dinner and the book and then my shower, my sloth nagged at me. So, late in the day—bedtime for me, really—with a great burst of will and determination, I booted myself outside.

Instantly my hang-dog guilty sense of couch-potato-ness vanished. I felt newly awake, more alive—reminded of how rare and wonderful everything is: stars, snow, a big moon, the pointy tops of the trees etched against the rim of the sky.

There is Orion, my favorite constellation, and at his heel is Sirius, the bright star. There are the twins! I’ve missed the twins. And there are the Pleiades, the seven sisters, so pretty in their close sisterly swirl, and Taurus the bull charging toward them. That’s why Orion has his bow raised, I think—he’s protecting them. And there’s Venus, an evening star right now (unless I’m totally off-base), shining low and yellow on the western horizon. There’s something wonderful about Venus—perhaps that feeling of another world, an actual planet, seeming almost touchably close when it hangs so low and burns with that warm yellow light like a little lantern in a cabin window.

I stand on the shore out in front of the cabin , listening to the lake creak and rumble, greeting these constellations, feeling as if I’ve been away somewhere and just got back home. Sallie stands at alert, wary and intrigued.

I suddenly think that this is all I needed to do today. It’s the most important thing.

*The book I finished tonight was Running North, by Ann Cook. It’s about a couple who went to Alaska with their sled dog team to run the Yukon Quest. It’s got dogs—and not just any dogs but working dogs, sled dogs—Alaska, winter, guts, grit, and determination, everything I like.

3 comments » | At Home, Books

Lake Superior Valentine

February 14th, 2011 — 5:52pm

February 14, 2011

Today’s Special:  The steak, egg, and cheese bagel again.

This time the bagels are from Third Street Bagel in Marquette.   Third Street is new to us, but I can tell the bagels are great.  The garlic are absolutely bristling with chunks of diced garlic, which makes me very happy.

It was good to go to Marquette, good to see a different stretch of highway.   We made it in time for me to go to Snowbound Books, which is a big treat.  I love bookstores of all kinds, but I’m especially fond of independent stores, being one myself.

I’m feeling quiet today, a little sad—probably because we got home late and I didn’t sleep well—but at the same time I’m delighting in things.

The best part of the day so far:  watching the lake crash up over icebergs miles down the shore.  It’s as if whales are spouting out there, big wonderful explosions of water.  I love the power of Lake Superior, its scale and wildness, and ‘love’ is an overused, inadequate word for it, but you’ll just have to know what I mean.  I love looking at something that has nothing to do with human endeavor or plans.

Sage and Ted came in bearing a Valentine, too, which was lovely.  Sage is two years old, and again I’m having this bewildered feeling of where did the time go? Was it really a year ago already that Sage was one and wearing a footie-snowsuit and Sallie was a tiny puppy and the two of them leaned s-l-o-w-l-y together to gently touch noses, baby to baby?  Now Sage is bringing Valentines and walking and talking and wearing a lavender parka and Sallie knows Sit and Stay and Shake and No, no, naughty, and Let’s go to the office! and a whole lot else I think.

Gary is back, too.  It was only a minute ago that he was sitting at the counter looking wistful, at the end of his  month-long autumn trip, not coming back until the sled dog races, which are now next weekend.  The time, the time…  Perhaps more than anything else I have long wanted a way to slow down time.  But here is Gary, who came bearing a Snickers bar wrapped in red tissue paper and a smile, wordlessly saying that he’d read this blog, and even though it doesn’t seem possible six months have passed already, I’m really happy to see him.

Now I will go wash the dishes, which will cheer me up by making me feel like I’ve accomplished something tangible.

3 comments » | Today's Special

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