It’s really frozen here in St. Louis. Admittedly it’s not as cold as Canada, or the South Pole, but there is always someplace less friendly to human life one can think of. Siberia. Pluto.
My yardstick for habitable terrain is whether or not a human can survive without protective clothing. Would you die if your gas or electric stopped, or your spacesuit blew a hole? If so, it’s not a particularly clever place to be. Really.
A surreal Sponge Bob mailbox in the snow. Evan and I walked past it last night, shivering our way home after a lovely dinner, and then were like, “what did we just see?” and turned around to marvel. WTF?
Another inch or so of fresh, soft snow fell last night, which is very pretty, but man, it hurts. I’ve never been a huge fan of cold weather, but now that I creak and ache in it, I’m even less charmed. It’s not warm in Tucson either, with lows in the 30s. I’d hoped to skip out on winter this year (and every year following) but I have so much work to do right now that it isn’t possible.
Next year, certainly, I promise myself, I will be intelligent, and stay in places where I can walk everywhere, eat real food, and not be surrounded by a lot of pasty people in cars. My attention to the situation of incurious overconsumption brings nothing to the table; nothing will stop WalMart or fracking except complete disaster or revolution. My distaste at what I see around me adds nothing to the discussion, yet I am annoyed beyond words at people who know better and keep propagating doom, or people who simply refuse to know better.
I contemplate my own situation; I can no longer justify having anything beyond the basics. It’s hard to define exactly what those are. It’s so much easier to not add things than it is to remove them, but my God, I’m still responsible for so much. Too much. No one in my family (except Bri, I presume) feels as I do; they are all fully committed to the idea of each person having their own house, their own car, their own everything. People who know better still buy plastic water bottles by the case. I don’t know why they do this, or how they can do this. I am unsure on how to relate to these other humans, people who love me, people I love.
I puzzle over my obligation to live in a way that makes me uncomfortable in order to not make others uncomfortable. I ride the hairy edge of what a person is “allowed” to do.
I am not at ease.
One of our St. Louis neighbors has resuscitated the excellent dragon that one of our other neighbors built, and used to put out every year. It used to have a tongue of flame that flicked on and off, but that was back in the day when the original yard was full of light sculptures in December, and their teenaged son used to dress up in a ski suit with lots of light strings pinned to it. He’d lurch around like a robot, and our little boys called him The Light Man. We visited their yard daily, on our way to say hello to the fire trucks.
I’m working every day; trying to focus on what needs to be done in what order; the scope of work seems to expand all of the time, which confuses me. My job is often to keep the Hydra from growing any more heads. I’m working on a few practical pieces right now; they are meant to be illustrations for a couple of esoteric concepts from the second volume of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork.
I coax my cold hands to keep moving.
If you’ve got money in your pocket and a switch on your wall, we’re gonna keep your dirty lights on…
When the sun comes out again, we’ll string up our own lights, sparkly ones on the fence, currently covered in snow.
For someone who is not at ease, I’m remarkably happy. This is confusing as well, but I’m grateful.