When you have to slow down, the natural world becomes apparent. Even sitting on an artificial chrome couch with Naugahyde cover, in a wood box built to protect me from the elements, I can see a lot of the outdoors. One of the advantages of a small house is that this living room has windows on three sides, it is a lot like the proverbial goldfish bowl.
The Natural World on My Block
Yesterday it rained. This is January in Michigan, and rain is not unheard of (my friend Mike Ross wrote a song called January Rain, about a particularly bad day he had).
However, this is usually the season of snow and cold. Lansing tends toward piling up snow for several weeks, than a short melt, then more snow. This last few weeks has had more melt and less snow than feels normal.
I worked on the computer (thank goodness for wireless internet and laptops) sitting on the couch. I kept being distracted by movement outside the window. It was that dratted squirrel again. He’s so cute to watch and I do like him much better when he is outside of my house.
Clearly that one nook in the front tree is his favorite spot, because I’ve showed you two photos of him there and again yesterday he’d go there, then run up and down the diagonal tree branch, then sit for a moment longer. He didn’t stay up the branch long enough to do anything. I assume he was out looking for food while it was warm enough to do so.
Of course, I also saw him in the rain gutter, his avenue to the hole he chewed under the shingles to get into our attic. Ick. That’s where he ceases to be cute.
A Short Breath of Fresh Air and a Dose of Reality
At 7:30pm I realized it was 45F degrees outside and rainy. Since I’m fighting a bug, I’m even more aware of air quality issues and the lack of open windows in the winter. So I turned down the thermostat, wrapped up in some blankets, and opened the door for a few hours. I am a huge fan of open windows and doors, and it felt so good to not be locked up so tight.
It rained peacefullly and there was no wind at all, so it took a long time for the house to feel colder inside. The humidity was a nice change, too.
But something threw a switch and it got mean out there. It sounded like Dorothy from Kansas was going to land her house in the street at any moment. The National Weather Service says it was 45 degrees F (7.2C) at 10pm, and 19 degrees F (-7.2C) at midnight. Whew!
More Small Potatoes
I remind myself that I’m human on earth and that means I’m not in charge, and that many things don’t fit in easy boxes. Getting this nasty cold is reminding me of this idea more intensely these few days. Sitting still and watching the weather (and the squirrel) go by, reminds me how little I am in charge of my life.
But I’m doing better at remembering my Gramma Illa’s theory that many things are small potatoes. Really, everyone gets a cold sometimes and they do go away. They slow us down, they make us uncomfortable, we don’t enjoy it. In the big scheme of things, though… it’s small potatoes and it will be over soon enough.
I observe little Isabel, the 3-1/2 yr old toddler in my life, and I see how she really still believes that the world revolves around her, which is normal for her age. When things go wrong we have to explain to her that it isn’t her fault, because as the center of the universe she would believe it was. Really, we all are the center of our own universe… which explains a lot of confusing behaviors in others at times. Yet, as adults we know our power is not all-encompassing.
I Don’t Think We are in Kansas Anymore, Toto
The wind is so strong outside that it is blowing through the cracks between windows in this old house. It is not extreme most of the time, and I’m not asking for advice since a little fresh air is excellent.
A little airflow does not upset me at all, and the house is small enough (and the furnace efficient enough) that it is just fine the way it is. Our windows are varnished hardwood, very beautiful, and I value them as an artform… just the way they are.
We have 8 small windows and a door in the small L-shaped area that is our living room and my office. I did take some of that thick not-too-sticky plastic weather tape a year or two ago, and taped the larger crack that is between the upper and lower moving window parts.
Yesterday, when we would get a huge gust of wind, we would both jump from a very loud noise. A whoopie cushion, but louder!
It was one of the windows in my office. I’d opened it for Brian when we were dealing with telephone-line issues near that window. The tape is still sealed on one side but it broke its bond on the other.
Then the wind blew so hard that it pushed quickly through the crack, and the loose side vibrated. Instant whoopie cushion! Quite amusing when you are fully awake.
So, How is Your World?
Nothing new in this corner of the world, really. The world turns, the sun sets, we sleep, we wake up, we have a cup of tea, we work for a while. How about you?
(The photo? Beats me. I downloaded a bunch of photos and this one was in the middle for no apparent reason. I thought it was beautiful so I didn’t delete it. I call it “Wild Abandon.” It is so sunny I hought it appropriate to a winter day.)