Monday, December 22, 2008

Arctic High.

Please do not panic, please, but damn, friends and fans of onrushing winter, it's cold. It was well colder overnight than the 21 degrees they wanted — at 9 this morning it was 17, and the sun had been up a while. The pansies look cooked. Or, well, frozen. They'll bounce back, but they're not doing us any favors curb-appeal-wise. We need a gardener to buy this place anyway, though, and a gardener will know what's what. A gardener will know it's cold.

I keep thinking hard about place, about Michael Pollan's 'hut dream,' though of course it's not his. He talks circles around it in his fantastic book 'A Place of My Own,' now being reissued by Penguin, since he's gone and become all famous and whatnot. The long made short: He builds a writing shed, and meditates a few hundred pages on place and what it means. His version of the hut dream: some of us never escape or outgrow the desperate desire to sling a bedsheet over the kitchen table, to make a hut, to wall off the world, to then make the resultant interior space our own. I'm ready for the new place — ready for its as-if-for-me-made front porch and its perfect back deck tacked on like some prize we've won, ready for its staircase, ready for its uneven upstairs floors, ready to plant another yard all over again, ready to build a new writing shed of my own out back of all of that. But this hut here at 1303: I've liked it. I have, I have. I still very much do.

Do not despair. Temps will moderate through midweek, and even when we come back cold again by the weekend and early next week it won't be this cold. An important disclaimer, however: We are fast approaching the time of year when week-out forecasts might not mean much: something gets jiggled coming down out of Canada and across the mountains and we get three-quarters of an inch of ice instead of mid-fifties and showers. So pay attention, then, out there, OK? Safety first. After that, mead.

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