reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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damning ice-damming. [two artists tuesday]

there is a price to pay for having an adored old house. ours is 93 years old. sturdy, charming, with wood floors and crown molding, built-in cabinets and solid doors, details that wouldn’t necessarily be affordable in new construction. but then there’s that thing that many of these sweet old houses don’t have enough of — called insulation.

many’s the time i have been on a ladder in the winter with a hose that is stretched to the basement laundry tub spigot. just me and hot water tending to the ice in the gutters. one year, when it was a particularly big problem, big jim came over and performed magic. i remember driving to illinois to purchase the proper tools: heating cables (they were out in wisconsin stores) and one of those really long telescoping snow rakes. and now d has had the distinct pleasure of dealing with this as well. each fall now we check the gutter cables – i’m always holding my breath to make sure they are still working lest the winter comes and they cease being warm in the middle of ice-damming weather.

and ice-damming weather it is.

it’s not like i’m happy that other people are dealing with it, although there is a little bit of content that we aren’t alone in this. as we walk around the neighborhood or drive around town we point at houses and icicles, inches of solid ice clearly stoked up in the gutter, snow falling off roofs like icing sliding from a cupcake on a hot summer’s day. even newer houses and brand-new construction have ice-laden soffits and fascia. and i listen and just keep hoping i don’t hear the telltale drip-drip-drip sound somewhere inside the house; that is never a good thing.

my first experience was memorable. i was alone when i walked in the front door and could hear water literally pouring somewhere. thinking someone had left a faucet on, i immediately went to check the bathrooms, but the sound lured me directly to the sunroom where i stared at the scene that ice-damming had created. my dad and a friend, neither in town, provided some pretty healthy support over the phone for my first adventure on the perilous ladder perched on the icy deck with an unwieldy and uncooperative long garden hose that i had to first thaw from its frozen coiled state as i tried to win against mother nature and too little insulation. eventually, i did win, but not until i was solidly drenched in 20-degree temperatures and i had earned the nickname ‘hoser’ over my moral-support-suggestion-laden-phone-calls and their quest to keep me laughing.

another time, my son can attest to walking into the sitting room one day to find water coming in from above the windows. we both stared at the phenomenon (staring is a requirement as a first reaction in ice-damming). then we got to work with every spare towel we could find. so, yeah, it’s not like i’m happy other people are dealing with it (isn’t that something like schadenfreude?) but i am happy for company in misery. and i know that in the summer, when we are calmly sitting outside in adirondack chairs in the warm sun having an iced tea, these will be funny stories.

but now? this year? yes, i am still holding my breath. the ice is particularly stubborn and the temperatures are lingering in ice-damming territory. facebook posts are abounding with pictures of dammed ice (or “damned” ice, depending on your level of zen) and people’s comments are empathetic and knowing. i don’t remember this from long island at all. i blame wisconsin. nevertheless, in the words of my momma, “this too shall pass.”

i seem to be thinking about those words a lot these days.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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WE are the light.

fullsizerender1i was standing in our old kitchen looking out the big window over the sink, reveling in the sunshine that is outside. light. it makes all the difference. all of a sudden i saw the fox running through the yard behind the yard behind us (yes, that would be two yards away)… gorgeous reddish brown, confident, its pace unhurried and elegant. fox_edited-2-jpega few minutes later, as i watched, it chose a spot under some low-hanging pine branches and curled up in the sun. that beautiful creature is still there, napping, soaking in the sun. what a reinforcement of what sunshine means to all of us living beings. revitalizing. hope-giving. a pure energy source.

it’s been cloudy for days and days and days here…weeks actually. we saw in the paper that there have been only two days of sun since the beginning of january. this is kind of unusual for wisconsin. i bragged to david when he moved here from cloudy (albeit stunning) seattle that he would love winter…that the bright snow and the sun would appease his need for light and counteract the cold temperatures. this winter has been different. the cloud cover has kept some of those distinctly freezing days away, but it has made a groggy world, grey and slow-moving, yawning for naps and staying indoors, despite temperatures that weren’t as cold. snow has been at a minimum and the light has been temporarily suspended.

many of us feel that way about our world right now as well – the light has been suspended. we ache for people whose rights to just BE are being undermined, we shake our heads in disbelief at policies that seem willy-nilly and are destructive, we wonder at how the lack of light might forever change lives – our lives, the lives of our families, friends, colleagues, countrymates, worldmates.

grave decisions are being made. powerful words are being spoken. in turn, people are expressing conviction and passion, some through anger and hurtful words, some eloquently, some in peaceful demonstrations. and while this cloud goes on, people are drawing strength from each other, gathering together to talk, to discuss, to share, to ask questions. choir rehearsal didn’t start for at least twenty minutes the other evening because people just needed to talk, to discuss, to share, to ask questions. we are the light for each other as we gather together. where two or more are gathered….

and today? i suspect that many people feel just like this beautiful fox today. we rest for a few moments in the sunshine, we draw in hope and energy. we are revitalized by the light. and we vow to keep on keeping on, to not be complacent, to talk, to discuss, to share, to ask questions, to resist, to act, arcing our way to a better world, no, MAKING a better world.

~~~~~

If you’d like to listen to HOPE from the album THIS SEASON click here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1hTs5QcMKQ