Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Nature to the Rescue ....

“Do I pour this over the meat?” Sven held a can of diced tomatoes poised over the beef patties he had just fried.

“No!” I shrieked. “Let me make the sauce. Later!”

It had been a hard day, after a tough night. Usually I sleep well, but this morning I woke up from a nightmare at 1:30: the huge wave of divorce crashed over me, and I found myself unable to protect my children. Sven was tense, too. He had some pain, two weeks after his procedure. Hard to know whether to rush him to the doctor, or hold steady and wait it out. I didn’t want to eat meat, especially after reading Nena Baker’s The Body Toxic, but you can’t keep a Swede from his meatballs. Time for me to get outside. Being cooped up by a winter storm is not good for the nerves. So I donned my winter parka, hat, scarf and gloves for a walk up Old King’s Highway. Our single-lane road was cleared of snow, but still slippery. From the mailboxes, I spied a young neighbor, with her dog and child, on miniature skis.

The town plows had done a better job of clearing Long Pond Road. During the day, the temperature had risen above 32 degrees, and by sunset, icing had already begun. I proceeded left with care, past the future water tower, which many of you may not have yet seen. The structure looked surprisingly nice, lit up like two clowns in a circus ring. Flamboyant, red-haired Ginny, who used to mount guard at the dump, sailed past in a pick-up, filled with worn shingles, from some work site, no doubt destined for her wood stove or a friend’s. I waved. At the real estate sign, I turned left and hiked up a driveway, too slick for passage later in the day. I snapped a few photos at the future house, the one with the incredible view of Wellfleet, surely one of the best views in town.

On the way back, I crossed several yards covered with pristine snow, a short cut that put me in touch with nature. There were tracks of mice and rabbits. During the day, a crust had formed, and the snow crunched under my boots. Lifting feet out of the foot-high drifts felt strange, as if someone had spread Marshmallow Fluff across the countryside, and the top had crystallized, like glaze on caramel custard. I paused and looked around. The only sound was the soft breeze, rustling pine branches. Behind me, the sun had begun to set. Ahead loomed a large shuttered home. How different the experience from summer, when the owners of these houses are in residence! As night descended, I returned to Old King's Highway, with rosy cheeks and high spirits, ready to give my husband a warm hug.