Sunday, February 7, 2010

In Annandale, a Stream of Consiousness, Shoveling, Bison, and Gunshots

We are snowed in! Three feet deep! There is a gentle swell in the driveway where the Honda used to be. All of us! From the Atlantic to St. Louis. Socked right under! Two feet of tiny, tiny Remarkably Tiny! They are really little! snowflakes, and how they do add up! Let that be a lesson to us all. They are pulling down the trees!

The snapping of branches has been like gunshots all night, and there is nothing worse than the noise of a tree collapsing. Like hair tearing. With an exhausted creak like a huge and heavy door and that vacuum void, like just before a big bell bongs or a car crashes. It makes you want to yell. And then Whump! or Whooomp!, possibly, if it is a very old tree, or possibly, Whoomp. Ka-Smash! Wheep Wheep! Wheep Wheep! if there is a car alarm involved.

That Ancient and Towering and Bird-filled Virginia Pine (It is Pinus virginiana - famous for all the lower branches snapping off leaving just their grey shattered limbs and a gorgeous crown - a forest by itself - 175-feet up and, as it happens, perfect for yanking out of the soil like a carrot, like a troll by the hair. Perfect for flinging onto the neighbor's new and pricey cedar shake roof by the slightest zephyr or perceived insult. This beautiful tree has dangled over the house - my bedroom - for years - perfect for 'The Three AM Fret', but could not be cut down to preserve us all from Death and Needless Expense and Prosecution, precisely because it is Ancient, Towering, and Bird- and Who Knows WhatAll-filled, and beautiful, really the way ship wreckage is beautiful. And this morning full of Red-tailed Hawks, at least four, creamy bellies bared to the sun in the freezing blue and forest green and cirrus beyond, being set upon by crows winging in like the sun from all directions at 17 degrees. With blizzard on the way, that beautiful tree is expected in the kitchen any minute as the wind picks up.

Preparing for A Snow Emergency, on Friday, the Crack Team of my Pop and B, at the Safeway were swept up by a screaming wave of mob grocery shopping. Now that the frenzy has subsided, and the sun shines clear, our refrigerator is crammed with pistachio-crusted goat cheese, Dutch bell peppers, and a brick of ground bison. The pantries are full of man-sized - as in, they are the size of men - bags of Cheetos, a satchel of what must have looked like Wine-in-a-Box, but turns out to be gravy, and a 25 lb bag of cardamom. If these are End Times, the house smells great. It makes me want to invent algebra.

This morning, in Annandale people are cross-country skiing down Gallows Road in the sun for lattes. We're holed up lying in piles like lions in the DVD player's glow. B chopped wood and stacked it by the front door, but we were more interested in identifying the lichen on it than setting it on fire. Here are 10 Things You Should Know about Lichen .

My greatest fear is tomorrow, I'll have to use chocolate milk in my coffee. I will steel myself for the hardship.

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