Cracking the Ice

Cracking the lacy edge of iced snow with the heel of a boot or shoe is a simple springtime ritual that reminds me of childhood—my own, my children’s, my granddaughter’s. The sun has announced its return to longer days of warming concrete, pavement, earth. There will be lots of melting and all the snow that falls after that these melting days will have a shorter life.

This morning I watched a small red squirrel struggling for traction on ice under a parked car and felt for its lack of progress. And I laughed, although staying upright while carrying groceries to the back door or garbage out to the trash cans is still a challenge. The universal human experiences of twisting an ankle, ripping pants or landing too hard on the tailbone while innocently walking from one spot to another, can happen in March. My most painful fall of the 2019 – 2020 winter season happened late in March. While untangling the dog’s leash after eleven at night my feet slipped out as I tilted sideways. The wet dog and soaking pjs were immediately fixed. A variety of body aches took longer to go away.

Sharp claws, sturdy boots, favorite sneakers, clamp on treads don’t guarantee smooth moving on ice. Spring melt produces the fun cracking the edge of snow, but the sneaky clear path across a sidewalk might be wet, or might smack your back end down in seconds. It is a time of year that jetpacks would be helpful. Even if you are deeply isolated from COVID with groceries delivered and others doing your errands, at some point the garbage can has to dragged curbside. As long as the temps stay low and shade covers your steps, ice can take you down.

For those suffering from what the pandemic brings, at least a moderate winter didn’t add more suffering. Eventually we will be able to stand in our yards, alleys, boulevards and talk to others. We’ll be able to minimize the isolation and exchange stories. In the meantime, there are people out here willing to lend a hand, even if it means a walk across spring ice. Give someone a call. 

Still Winter (Don’t Read This Cranky Blog)

Let’s see. It’s still winter. I’m done with it, but it’s not done with us. No use complaining (but that’s not stopping me). Weather isn’t personal. The same rain/snow/slush falls on all of us. The same ice clumps chunk off our tires. We drive the same roads that are scabby with ice or as slippery as Crisco.

Impeachment rages on and on. We know how this will end but the players must follow the script anyway.

No wonder I obsess about clay. I revel in the small personal thrill of throwing porcelain for the first time in years. Voilà! A small vessel I hope to make into an old-fashioned perfume bottle. Not to hold perfume. Just because I like the idea of them.

Maybe I’ll make stoneware wine goblets next. The sturdy kind without stems. Or stoneware tumblers for iced tea and mojitos with fresh mint. Mint that I’ll pinch from a plant in next summer’s garden.

Why not stoneware flower pots? That’s genius! When I’m not a potter, I’m a gardener. I could bring together two of my passions.

What about platters and bowls with sayings? Hmmm. I hate art that exhorts me to Live! Love! Laugh! Shut up, I think, even though I do want to live, love, and laugh. Isn’t stamping Ellen-isms into clay at odds with that? Too bad. I’m doing it.

 

I’ve been holed up in the pottery studio with my potter’s wheel spinning fast. It corkscrews my focus tighter and tighter until all I see is the lump of clay that I’m forcing to be centered. Even though it resists, throwing off stray blobs and splashes of watery clay.

Hours pass. My back and shoulders ache.

Weeks pass.

Now when I leave the studio at 5:15, it’s light out. The big wheel of the seasons is also turning. Slowly, slowly, but turning. Bringing me back to center.