This is a sneak peek from a photo essay to be posted later this month. These ladies just couldn’t wait any longer.
There is something to be said for a cold, snowy January. We are so accustomed to unusual weather that typical weather has become its own event. Holiday winter storms and iced-over ponds restore winter to what we expect it to be, and in these times a plummeting thermometer is truly a breath of fresh air. The garden lies protected under a blanket of snow, paw and hoof prints dot trails across the dormant lawn, and fires burn in the wood stove because they are pleasant, not because the power is out. I always look forward to a January hibernation so that I can regroup from the old year and get ready for the new one. This year, the weather is perfect for that.
I work out to Steve Martin‘s banjo music. I imagine he would be appalled to know that, but then again maybe it’s a marketing idea. I sort of admire people who can go the gym and work out regularly but I am not one of them. The idea of getting in my car and driving somewhere to exercise just seems wrong, not to mention embarrassing for someone who refuses to wear sweatpants anywhere, ever. If it’s too cold to walk outside, looking out the basement window and listening to The Crow gives my mind something wonderful to do while my body is busy being miserable. It’s perfect. Forget Katy Perry, Michael Jackson and the rest of the thumping-base workout music – it all only reminds me of how young I am not. But banjo music brings out the young in everyone. It is inherently happy, endlessly sunny and an invitation to love life. The winter melts to spring, the rural roads stretch before me, and when I am finished I can go and write.
Speaking of which, a while back my daughter and I went to hear Steve Martin himself talk about his life and play a little banjo. At the end of the interview by insipid entertainment reporter Joyce Kulhawik (I am loathe to even give her a link), Mr. Martin took questions. One person whined to him about writer’s block and asked him how he kept himself creative and he was blissfully bemused. In effect, he told her that, having worked so hard to get to this point in his life that he can now pursue his ideas whenever the mood strikes him. No pep talks, no tricks of the trade, just a very candid glimpse of someone who has earned the right to do nothing and thus pursues everything. Think about it – writer, comedian, actor, director, playwright, poet, collector, musician. Even if you did have writer’s block how could you think someone like Steve Martin could provide you with any more wisdom than he already has?
Days like today remind us why we endure New England’s long winters. There’s nothing like a morning in which the snow is so white it reflects the bluest sky. Later on it will be warm enough for a walk, but for now, it’s time grab the coffee, pull the chair up to the window, and open the solar panels in our heads. Recharge.