Thursday, February 27, 2014
A coal train is passing right now, its single brilliant headlight opening a luminous path that moves away slowly along the tracks, creating a space through all the ink outside my window.
The seam between earth and sky at this moment is visible only by farm lights spaced hither and yon across a horizon otherwise non-existent. The exquisite jewelry of the sky is laid out perfectly, endlessly, so intense and so imminent that if I had a telescope, even a cheap one, I could look into fiery beaming and see angels.
It's abominably cold. Today, tomorrow, this weekend, the already wretched temperatures will fall to numbers that shouldn't be spoken of in public. And it's March. Well, almost. And the furnace is running, full-time. I'm starting to think it's time to build a guerrilla movement and knock off one of those coal trains--we're going to need the fuel down here. To heck with St. Paul.
This computer, just now, would barely start, as if it were little more than an old Ford 150 standing in the icebox outside. And wind, too. Last night it reminded us once again--it never stops--that we've got no protection, no trees, no nothing out here in the country--just the bare naked side of the house cutting a swatch into a Siberian river of air that finds slits and crevices and turns the northwest corner into a kazoo band.
The Great Lakes are little more than hockey rinks. The continent's great rivers are log-jammed. I keep thinking of the pheasants out back--how do they make it anyway? Stop at a gas station, fill up with gas and you lose fingers.
If I were of some primitive tribe, I'd start looking around for human sacrifice, thinking about it anyway--it's too blame cold to leave the igloo.
The eastern sky, perfectly cloudless, is beginning to glow right now, opening up brilliantly, all that heavenly jewelry retreating back in the cold face of the dawn that's coming. Such frigidity puts the world in shockingly vivid focus. If it wasn't so cold, it would be beautiful. Maybe it still is.
No, it isn't. It's just too blame cold.
Yesterday, on Hwy 10, just above Million-Dollar Corner I met a monster truck with a bright yellow sheet over the grill announcing a wide load. That beast was so unwieldy I had to steer the Tracker over to the side to let it by; and I might have been angry if I hadn't seen what that huge 18-wheeler was lugging.
When I did, I thought seriously about phoning the whole Orange City populace and getting them out for a ticker-tape parade because on the back of that huge semi was one gorgeous John Deere corn planter, a massive thing that felt as much a relief as the dove that lighted on Noah's pointer.
It can happen--spring, I mean. It's never not come. Someone somewhere is soon to receive a brand new mammoth corn planter because he doesn't want to get behind once this abysmal cold retreats to its evil lair.
This weekend we'll spend inside again--more cabin fever.
But yesterday I saw a green vision. I'm not going to sabotage a train or begin a search for human sacrifice because just yesterday a harbinger of spring nearly shoved me off the road. No matter. It's all I needed to see.
'Twas a blessing.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 7:01 AM