So anyway this friend of mine, a colleague, says he calls it "the winter of the icicle." Good night, he's not wrong. The town's a cave of mammoth stalactites, Rip Van Winkle beards hanging low wherever you look. Everyone has them, and some of them are just plain huge.
Generally, snow out here on the edge of the plains won't pile up because the wind takes it elsewhere. Where, I don't know. But most winters, cross-country skiers have to go north for their workouts, or simply hit their basement Nordic Tracs. Not this year--this is the year for cross-country skis. You can go anywhere, even down the street. Since January. Shoot, since Christmas.
The snow has accumulated, piled up like bread a'risin. Even on roofs. So we've had this strange combination of listless snow, cold temps, and just enough sun to make roofloads of snow melt down ever so slowly. The result is icicles for the record books. Like I said, they're everywhere.
And if the global warmers are concerned, as they should be, about melting glaciers in Alaska or wherever up north, they shouldn't worry that we'll forget the concept. In the town where I live, everyone has glaciers, too. I'm more of a worrier than my colleague, I guess, because I'd prefer to think of it as "the winter of the glacier," huge bulging ice chunks threatening the heck out of my gutters and everyone else's.
Okay, I admit it--I didn't climb up on my roof last fall and empty the gutters of leaves. In a village of Calvinists, in a normal year, my sin might well cry out mightily. But this year, roofs are covered in a wave of glaciers that make it impossible to judge thy neighbor's indolence. Everybody has icicles, and everybody has glaciers. They come with the territory, so to speak.
I worry, of course, that my gutters will soon come a'tumblin' down, once the melting starts--and it will, despite the epoch-making winter. With the cold continuing, that fat lip of ice just above the gutter will only grow, I'm sure, it's bulk threatening the entire gutter system.
No matter. For awhile at least, it's instructive, I think, to see before me the very principle of the glacier in evidence on my very own roof--and my neighbor's. In spades.
So last night I was thinking about that while observing the phenomenon, hunting like Thoreau to find some corresponding life's moral in the sagging bulge on my gutter. All I could come up with was this: when things get old, they eventually start to sag, badly, into unsightly lumpiness--and get heavy, very heavy. And cumbersome, moving very, very slowly, moving glacially, one might say. And then, if they don't ruin everything, finally, their cold lives behind them, they simply melt away.
That's what I was thinking. Don't you hate moralists?