Stop me if you’ve heard this before: it’s in the -20s, with blowing snow. A very, very nasty day.
The kids are baking apple pies today for a contest tomorrow. If we can’t get out to deliver them and get them judged, well, we’ll just have to stay home and eat ’em.
The other day in the supermarket I was stopped in my tracks by a display of not yet flowering pots of Spring flowering bulbs — grape hyacinths and regular hyacinths, Dutch crocus, and mini daffodils. I bought three (one for each child of course) and set them by the kitchen window. They give me strength, not just to deal with the walloping winter we’ve had but with February in general, which is also 4H public speaking month (and with two clubs Laura has to give her speech twice) and ramped up rehearsals for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. But I am noticing that the sun is up earlier and earlier each morning, and dark comes later in the evenings, especially when we’re out and about in town for activities.
* * *
by Alex Mair
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on winter,
If you can trust your snow tires not to fail
When all around the snow is drifting with the gale,
If you can shovel, and not be tired of shovelling,
Or chipping ice, when ice must needs be chipped,
If you can gaze on landscape blanked with snow,
And keep your cool, when those around have flipped,
If you can lose your footing, crashing down,
And smash your elbow on the frozen ground,
If you can rise again, and smiling, carry on,
Knowing eight feet farther on you’ll fall again,
If you can back your car against a drift
And spinning, sink the wheels beneath the snow,
And ‘phoning, hear the tow truck’s tale of wait,
And rushing to the corner, panting
See the final trolley buses as they go.
If you can shovel sidewalks needing shovelling,
And pitch the snow upon the drifts so high,
And watch it tumble back upon the sidewalk,
Remembering that a grown-up doesn’t cry.
If you can watch the ice rebuild on roof tops
Plugging eavestroughs as it never plugged before,
And watch the grey clouds move from far horizon
Knowing that it’s going to snow some more,
If you can watch a friend come back from sunshine,
All bronzed with tan and glowing from the fun,
And grit your teeth and keep your chapped face smiling,
As he talks of surf and sand beneath the sun.
If you can fill the unforgiving minutes
With sixty seconds of distance run,
If you can live with five months winter
Before the grass grows green beneath the sun.
Then what are you…some kinda nut?
It struck a chord and I laughed out loud, because of the weather, because the boys are each learning a Kipling poem (not this, but two from The Jungle Book) for the arts festival in April, and because I learned just the other day that Kipling is being reconsidered (review here).