Tag Archives: Winter

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Dear God, I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. That networking group has given me a lot of activities to keep me on my toes. On the down side, it has cut into my writing time. I’ve been here before though and have watched other people under the stress. Remember the metaphor of running a marathon versus sprinting? Yeah, that’s this.

I AM NOT GOING TO CALL MY WRITING A PASSION. That’s trite and it belongs in a job interview, not on my writer’s palette. If  I know only one thing of the writers I love, they don’t make overtures to their personal craft. They use it. They love it, but they don’t massage it. The passion is understood though their output. There’s no need to talk it up.

That last paragraph should read “I’m still writing.” This is the time to clutch on to my creativity like a balloon you don’t want to fly away. That’s especially so after last week’s story. It was a very difficult write, but I’m very proud of the result. It’s more soulful than my other works. It’s more alive. It’s that gritty realism very few people are comfortable acknowledging. My style is why I get suggestions to read Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, and the like. I’ll get there, people.

May’s got me in a much better mood than three months ago. It’s 17° C out (62° F), and I can walk outside without wanting to erupt into profanity like Lewis Black. I’m getting some landscaping done mid-week and sooner or later I can put the screens back in the windows. I haven’t scored any big victories lately. So, the small ones will have to do.

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Saturday March 8th, 2014

Today I have a couple of things to say for a change! There is reason enough to believe I should break them out into separate posts, as they’re different topics. What fortune! I think I’m more excited about that fact than I am the actual material but what happens next is still a bright spot on the grey-matter-gone-black that is my mental faculties. There may have been a spider or two that scurried away as I cracked open that cellar door.

Last night was shaping up to be a real Emo-city, cut-and-not-so-dry, window-gazer of an evening. All dressed up in suit and tie from a seminar I attended that day, I went to eat dinner out. The hurried, mechanical pace of American restaurants and a waitress too young to flirt with didn’t satisfy what I craved. Fortunately I keep a book at my side, being that dining alone is a way of life here. I thumbed the pages of The Jungle before setting out for a different venue. Ho-hum. That’s not in reference to the book, just the atmosphere.

Next stop was a swankier bar downtown. I’m not entirely sure why I went there. Maybe it’s because the women dress better? With better dress though can come attitudes, especially with the clientele being employees of a large corporate headquarters a few blocks away. Just as a side note, it doesn’t take much money to gain a sense of superiority in the Fields. A yearly salary of $70,000 could cultivate a behavior similar to that seen on “The Real Housewives of…” It’s slightly amusing, as I have been to much more wealthy locations in this country, but mostly tragic… and annoying. Most annoying was the woman so drunk she was laughing like Salacious B. Crumb and loudly.

Scratching cold starts in my journal, I could only stare out the window in efforts to find some sort of inspiration. A video comment by Ira Glass found on Jodie Llewellyn’s blog was running through my mind at the time, and I felt I needed a running start to have the spirit move me. I ended up walking out with little to show for it. The gloom of a failed evening was starting to follow me. So, I did the best I could: change cities.

Driving about 20 minutes north reveals a small college town with a better tone throughout, in my opinion. I set up camp at a sports bar near the highway just to sit and read. Those are what I’ve decided to be the staples in my life right now: reading and writing. Most of the time there was being conscious of a presence sitting next to me. Cocksure and country alpha, I could feel a pissy nature emit from the turned back of a patron. Was he jealous that I was reading, or just a jerk? Later in the evening he was joined by another and his dialog only assured me of the latter. Foul with crass etiquette (i.e. spitting), his  conversation covered a gamut of gems ranging from aggression to sour grapes.

Not quite ready to give up the ship, I stopped by a bar I usually visit for some tonic and whatever else I could squeeze out of Upton Sinclair. I don’t like the idea of being so frequent to an establishment that I either lose interest or wear out my welcome. Last night was not one to mull over that fine point. It turned out to be a great decision, as a girl broke my concentration with an inquiry of the reading material. After a well-received joke, I went back to reading as her significant other body-blocked our field of view. He was definitely jealous of our rapport, and I relished it like a villain.

Stepping outside for another broken promise, I had the pleasure of meeting two gentlemen from the local university. Both were philosophy majors with a interest in books. Naturally they opened up with my selection for the evening and we had a delightful conversation that ran almost an hour in the freezing cold. Steinbeck, Hemingway, Sinclair, Dick, Asimov, Kerouac, Bradbury, Heinlein, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald were all under the same roof. I could not have been happier even if I wasn’t a fan of some of the authors. The spectre of depression had been banished to the void for at least a night. Happily, I drove home content for a change.

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Sunday March 2nd, 2014

As Winter decides to entrench itself once again, I’ve tried desperately to seek shelter from a hostile planet. My choice of reading material may not be the best, but The Jungle is a fresh book for which I gnoshed upon this afternoon. It did concern me that the happenings of a turn of the 20th century meat packing plant did not upset my stomach, as I’m sure was intended, but at least I can identify the problems discussed throughout. This book would be a poor read for those with a faint heart.

At least I have good news from others. A good friend, a good man, of whom I’ve known for almost 20 years finally has his place among on the organ recipient list. He was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and ever since age 6 has experienced decreasing lung capacity. He will now await a double lung transplant that will extend his life considerably. He and his wife are pleased and hopeful. I donated my snow blower money to help cover the living expenses that won’t be assured by the insurance company. It’s for the better.

Speaking with my mother, she wasn’t surprised. What she said wasn’t meant to be damning, but my Devil’s workshop of a mind couldn’t resist. She went on to say, “Nate, you have a big heart. You take care of your friends. Had you not been hurt so much, you’d be happy with life.” The taste went sour in my mouth as the brain gleefully relived moments I wish not to remember. Only a runaway mind could truly relish injuring its owner.

Hemingway, whether flippant or serious, once answered the question “what is the best early training for a writer” with “an unhappy childhood.” That’s probably how a lot of writers come to be. I can remember furiously trying to scribble words on sheets of paper as a child. There wasn’t much in the way of encouragement in the house, but then again, I did keep a lot to myself. The efforts often fizzled in a whirlwind of other people’s concerns. Everyone has their problems, or so it is explained. I’ve tried long and hard to abide by it, and stay out of the world’s way.

Why I write? I cannot say. People seem to enjoy it, even if my head aches in confusion and tumult in the process of making more. What have I got to lose? I’m single. It looks like that’s my path. Work is important, but what should I be at the end of the day? Maybe someday I can unclench my jaw and go with the wind. Maybe not. At least there’s something around to note I once existed.

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Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Coming up with topics for journal entries are a challenge I’d like to think I’ve won more often than not. On occasion, I look for help. Seeking help from other sources isn’t a shameful practice; only when people are being used does it become a problem.

My decision today was to visit a conversation starter website to simply provide a question for me to answer.  This is like an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares where he gave the cooks a handful of ingredients and asked them to make a dish. Without further ado, the question is:

“What is your favorite season?”

What is my favorite season? Do I have a favorite season? Are the seasons all that important to me? It’s sophomoric, but it’s still thinking. Thought is always appreciated over spectating. A non-thinking person is merely a vessel for rhetoric.

It just so happens I do have a favorite season. My thoughts on the matter were made known on April 6th of last year with “Winter of the Mind.” I think it’s one of my better pieces. The work is more descriptive of the mental anguish I feel while wading through the snow-bound months.

Fun fact: that flash was written in a Waffle House at 2:30 in the morning while intoxicated people gossiped about me from ten feet off. Drunk bumpkins are quaint. It reminds me of Bill Hicks screaming “well, looks like we got ahselves a readah!”

Spring is coming… someday, and I’ll be ready for it. Even the buds littering the property are given a free pass for the warmth of the wind and color of grass. No amount of lawn mowing will bring me down. I may have to do things I wouldn’t normally do, like sharpen a mower blade, but it’s nothing compared to irritation of putting in storm windows.

The upcoming season is, by far, the most pleasing of palettes: the rich greens, blues, yellows, and reds. It’s all full and succulent. Life just oozes from the tips of leaves and brings forth a supple vivacity I relish in nature. Seasonal areas around here also open up, and people come back from their Winter retreats. Life begins again in Ohio. Everything moves once more.

Everyone is different, and I understand this is a matter of personal taste. That’s to be understood. We can’t all like the same thing, and I wouldn’t want it either. To say it makes for a boring existence is trite, but I’d love for people to have their own preferences. For those Winter fanatics, I hope they enjoy the rest of it. It’s certainly driving me up a wall! 

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Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The Old Man and the Snow…

Well, I’m finally back on track at the office after another snow storm hit the Fields yesterday. Aside from being plowed in, there wasn’t much action going on in town. Driving in a level 3 snow emergency will get you a ticket around here. It’s not worth the risk. For my gracious Southern readers, I’ve provided a few photos. This won’t seem like much to Yankees. In fact, it gets much worse around Lake Erie. Just ask Cleveland and Buffalo.

The first is the view from my freshly-shoveled driveway Wednesday morning. I couldn’t sleep that night. So, I gave it a cleaning at 3:30AM, only to have to do it all over again at 10:30AM.

I hear we're supposed to get more over the weekend.

I hear we’re supposed to get more over the weekend.

When I look to the west, the county road needs to be cleared off again. That means the snow plows will be around soon to plow me in.

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This would cripple a Southern city for days.

The last is of my poor mailbox, which finds itself deeper and deeper in snow the farther the season progresses. I need to dig around it every time there’s a storm, or the mailman won’t deliver anything. Wasn’t there some credo that he’s breaking? Regardless, he gets the best I can do on any given day.

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I wonder if he’d be amused to see it encased in a snow castle?

For right now, this is all snow-shovel powered. The type of snow blower I need is going to rack me about $800-$1,000. I suppose I’ll have to use my tax return to fund it.

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Of Schneemenschen and Solís

Want. A desire older than time identified and humanity gentrified. Folly be it to humans that it is theirs alone to possess. The quality of want is ubiquitous in every last morsel of the universe. Quite a delicacy, and delicate it is, as it presents a tug of war in a congress of existence with frayed rope. All pull to their side of want, gain as much as possible and gamble against possibility of breakage. Anger. Destruction.

As it so happens, the frigid community of Schneemenschen was in no short supply of want, as their huts lay deep in snow’s company. Their trees crackled to the force of Boreas bloviating on the virtues of Winter. Their furnaces became hungrier with every degree closer to zero. Their hours drug out mercilessly as the landscape became unfit for life. Their igloos were their world, and within such casing does a beast wait for a time of mildness and the taste of freedom.

In another corner of the world lay the República del Sol, sweltering under Summer’s heat. Exhausted, with little relief, the Solís huffed in thick atmosphere. Their eyes stung with sweat as the orbs spun incessantly hither and thither in their watery sockets. Fruitless endeavors would make up most of the days, while lethargy occupied most nights. No spot seemed sweeter than that which boasts a shade-free existence.

Trying to please their people the Kühlenkönigin and Presidente Calor sent scouts to all ends of the Earth looking for the prime place of relocation. Within the year, their parties returned most excited and spoke of land green with life and water neither steamy nor frozen. Balmy were the days and gentle the nights as it was beyond even the reach of the gods. Truly a paradise fit for either tribe.

Enthusiasm was felt in both communities that night as celebrations of new land filled their hearts with joy. It was time for a change, and for the better! As soon as they could, Solís and Schneemenchen alike packed their belongings and headed in the direction of prosperity. It wasn’t long before they found the very place of which their tribesmen spoke. Trees with leaves! Grass that’s green! Rivers that flow and pleasing to the palate. No book or poet could ever capture the true happiness contained within the hearts of these desperate people.

Often it said, and often it correct, that things too good to be true are. Soon both people found themselves in the company of one another. Neither tribe wanted a neighbor, and even less a polar opposite. These were their trees, their streams, and their grass. This was their land! How dare someone else try to take it away so quickly. If we can’t have it, then no one can!

With that, a war raged to destroy paradise. The Schneemenchen brought their Wintery wrath, plucked tree leaves, froze rivers, and blanketed grass. The Solís browned the Earth with Summer’s ire, and brought drought to nature’s creation. The only problem was in the personality of the embattled nations. So different, yet so alike, neither one could convince the other to leave for good. Instead, periods of victory were followed by periods of defeat and such outcomes forged an endless loop of hot and cold for all to observe.   

Humans have lived with “seasons” for so long, they do not realize what they witness. No scholar, historian, or sage can ever recall the lore behind the phenomenon and come up with other reasons meteorological to soothe the curiosity of Man. This does not stop our two tribes from fighting and the Schneemenchen and República del Sol will engage in a fierce struggle leaving such no-man’s-land scorched, parched, and blistered, or iced, frozen, and frostbitten in a cycle of want. Unfortunately to all matter involved, this want will never be satisfied. The lust for more is a candle never consumed, and such a dance is two steps forward with two steps back.

© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

I forgot I wanted to write a post about this article from December. It fills me with an impish joy only the antics of my fellow Ohio residents could supply. There won’t be any disagreement out of me, even if the study is a bit flawed. To do Ohio justice, calling large corporations with several layers of a phone system rarely leads to happiness. Not considering such actions provocation on the part of companies is a bit naïve by the survey team. Also Time Warner, AT&T, and Comcast (so I hear) can go play Frogger on I-80. I’ve just finished my fourth calling session with AT&T in the past 24 hours. Do you really think I’m going to be a cheerful bear after that?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear with nine interstates full of out-of-state traffic zipping by me at 80, 85, and 90 MPH?

No, I’m not. It’s hard enough to keep the state’s population policed.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear after hearing the general rage-spit about the 2004 elections, or more recently John Boehner of whom I had no ability to cast a vote against?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear when the coastal regions act like we’re some kind of step down to their genteel way of life?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear, when the industries we worked so hard to maintain are now shipped to China and Mexico with little left to show for it but dilapidated factories and unemployment?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear when my own country deems my area too unimportant to fix health and safety issues on their body of water?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear when the four seasons end up to be Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear when the rest of the country thinks this state doesn’t measure up their standards of courtesy?

The fuck I will.

With all that said, yes, Ohioans are fairly edgy overall.  I think the economic, environmental, and social stressors are getting to them. It has made people a little crunchy around the edges. There are deep divides in the political, religious, and philosophical canvases of which no one is really interested in closing. What else would you expect from a state that gave you William Tecumseh Sherman and Marilyn Manson? It has led to practice of staunch individualism with mediocre results.

I do get mad about the state of which I’ve lived in for over 30 years. I do make insulting remarks when I see preventable failure withing state lines, but it’s more in the form of wanting improvement out of a developed location. Outsiders simply want to make comments to feel better about their situation and birthplace. That’s why you see a seemingly double-standard when it comes to criticism.

If it weren’t so hacked up and shattered, I think several people would have chosen to stay. People get mad at other people. Other people leave to find better people. People get mad that other people left. It’s a vicious circle, or maybe a little like a downward spiral.

Nine Inch Nails… Cleveland band.

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Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

I thought I lost my humour once again, being last night had a weary eye on the basement. I think I’m OK as it stands right now. The storm only had a moderate impact on Stonefield. I’ve seen much worse, but do believe the people down by the river have a different story to tell. The crest is predicted to be 16 feet (4.88 m), which is 2 feet (60.96 cm) below crippling the city.

Like a halfwit, I rounded out the morning’s fun with removing the chunks of concrete which was once my curb on a windy 2° C (“real feel” weather) day. Why did rubble end up on the doorstep of my beloved house? Well, a snow plow operator had moved too close to the curb and split it in twain. Some of it was right rooted out of the ground. I’m not sure what to do about its repair at the moment, although the concrete was not a delightful addition to the holiday decor. The wind added to the exercise by blowing over the trash bag stand after every shovel full of debris. I’m sure the neighbors got some comic relief to add to their Sunday.

Getting back to the original thought, I think that the comedy (albeit dark and sometimes not-so-nice) is the major thing that makes me accessible or relateable to others. I will not be humble this time and say I’ve got some ability in making a joke work, as others seem to stumble with punchlines and delivery. Could I make a buck at it? Probably not, as the market has its fill. These days it only takes a handful to satisfy many.

Without it, though, there’s not much to hold on to. I’m most likely seen a miserable creature, a man who has had his fair share of disappointment and very cautious with the people around him. Once bitten, twice shy as the saying goes. Maybe that should be more than once, but you get the picture.

People like warm fuzzies, even when they seem absurdly disingenuous. That’s the part that makes me cringe: self-serving flattery and cloying, dime-store pep talks. I suppose that speaks to a desperate population. That isn’t me, and it probably will never be. I may not be your fuzzy, but I could be your Fozzie. I might need a pork pie hat and a rubber chicken.

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Coffee and Smoke

A cup of coffee receiving a long sigh may have been undeserving in other situations. Creature comforts were to be enjoyed, but the well-being of the creature will control ultimate appreciation. After all, there was some poor sap in a third-world country who couldn’t buy a well-roasted cup o’ joe, right? That’s the knee-jerk response from any faceless schmuck upon grappling with deeper issues more important than hot, bean water. The taste of nothing, in a Camus-esque sense met lips cracked from Winter’s wrath. This could be the gooseberries of your life.

The darkness beyond the rim of the drinking vessel agreed with nihilism over Nietzsche, providing a subject matter of negative space. Metaphor for the lonely: warmth surrounded by rigid structure.  He could not help but stare and pity its circumstance, want for it. In an act of defiance, it served as a mirror image of self-pity and reflected his face back to him.

“If I could be paid for depressing myself, I’d be rich.” The long, drawn-out sigh drew more attention than he wished. A mouthpiece of the of the soul made audible by lapse of constitution, as life decided to empty its spit valve. Was this a metaphysical representation of being “in between gigs”? Jazz, music of a whorehouse, and he lay naked and waiting. Vulnerable and desperate. Alone and afraid.

Drink, slightly bitter, much like life with little in the way of sucrose relief. Such emotional luxury is not affordable. The strong, hard bouquet of flavor washes over the tongue and scalds for good measure. What’s a little more pain? It was a joyless exercise after all.

Thriving city streets provided a showcase of unconscious effort, much as a river rapid moves without intervention. Small bubbles are the foam that separates the water from the head, and encased around the clusters of people moving as an ebb and flow of a tide. Unthinking. Uncaring. Unintentional. The walk wasn’t the release he needed.

Along the sidewalk, a panhandler sat in oblivion, a common thread with the stranger. He paid his respects with the drop of coins from his recent escapades at the coffeehouse. They were both impoverished: one of wealth and one of emotion. The only difference being one will see fewer results in begging for affection.

The door to his apartment gave way to a coffee-black square with wedges of light carved upon the floor. The living room displayed a lack of possessions through economy and desire. There wasn’t much of a point. A couch, a bit threadbare in places, was the mightiest of trophies the place had to offer, and was decidedly more welcoming than the flush of people in the streets.

Cigarettes, with their intentions clear, offered their services on an end table as one would hold out a dueling pistol. Several times he promised it wouldn’t end like this, but no bounty was to be had in avoiding the situation. A stick slid out of its pack and a barrel set in his mouth. Fire, propellant, and smoke arrived in due time as the bullet sped to the back of his throat. A slow suicide, but who wouldn’t have the same results sooner or later?

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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Winter of the Mind

Crunching snow is satisfying. Oh, water, you curious thing! Expanding as you freeze, your artistic statement touches all that is winter. Beautiful flakes, only to intensify in magnification, glide through the air with swan-like peace. I wonder if that’s dismay I hear in your voice as I bumble over your canvas? No matter, I suppose, firewood is needed from the back forty and your appearance is deceiving.

Winter’s play is unmistakable. The stage is set in white and won’t be changed until the final act is played out. That would take three months, easy. Such a length of time, forever frozen in the present! Maybe this trek could be my critique of such drudgery.

Eventually, it’ll retort. I’m sure of it. I’ll make it to the house, slip, and feel the antiseptic sting of chilled indignation. Then I should make it to the living room where its preferred state will mock me from the soles of my boots. Philistine!

It’ll be several minutes before I can relax. Red faces and numb feet are on their own clock. They go in their own time. What tenacity this season has, with its aloofness and misery! Trees become veins in the sky, clawing to feed life once again. Their icy jailor’s bidding is sleep. Silence. I imagine them longing for the youth of spring like I do.

Spring, now there’s a season for the living. New starts, green and lush, push the envelope of elemental confinement. It’s a chorus of the awake and alive, all shedding a load of stiff ideas. I yearn to curry the sun’s favor somehow for everything and everyone.

The cord seems lower than it should. Have I used more that I ought? Was this season colder than others? Was my want higher? I can’t afford to run out so soon. There’s so much left to endure. I shudder to think what I would do without some crutch.

I can see myself frantically splitting more logs from some unlucky tree. Slapdash clothing and burning feet would not prevent me from saving my refuge. My escape. Paul Bunyan would kneel before me as I let fly swings fit to cleave sky. The Spirit would move me and nothing short of the Divine could lay me to rest. I would be warm or die trying.

Two, four, six, eight… oh, can’t I put them all in the cart? No, it needs to last. I can’t be foolish now. I have to keep it together. One more log, and I’ll make it through the night. I think I can make it through the night. It’s so cold. I’m so alone. I’m as lifeless as this snow, and it’s killing me.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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