Wednesday, January 2, 2008


The WillowFlet in Winter, Gee Backyard

Now comes January, and we start it all again! Of course, the start of the church year is over a month gone, but we do tend to get caught up in this secular age and its mannerisms. Whilst living in Wisconsin, the first order of business is: "Where am I going and why am I in this handbasket??"

No, seriously, the first question is how to survive--nay, thrive!!--in Winter.

Well, ok. Survive. Here's my list; feel free to add your own.

  1. Full spectrum lighting
  2. Vit. D3, megadose.
  3. Git out in it, whatever it is. Gotta make friends with the dormant world!
  4. Break it down into two week segments.
  5. College basketball!
  6. A full routine. Be too busy to be depressed.
  7. The Gulf of Mexico, if you have the smooch.
  8. Cats.
  9. Tossing cats out in the snow: Nossa panics; Pippen lolls.
  10. Little spectacles and moments to enjoy: Louie the cardinal hitting the window; five pounds lost; an old forgotten proverb repolished; maybe a personal blog to chew at. Tossing cats out in the snow. A winter's walk at Devil's Lake State Park, across the ice (an embellishment of point #3).
  11. Gather your family in the living room, ninish at night, for a movie, a cup of tea, a story, or some reading aloud.
I know people who have their entire year planned, mostly around the goal of amusing themselves. Bowling leagues, lots of regular social events. It is easy to overdo this stuff. I'm referring to the three softball teams in the Summer, the football tickets in the Fall, the three-nights-a-week-plus-Sunday morning bowling. Well, yes, you survive, but does it edify?

We can't remember this, but we can imagine a time before the electric light, when candles were dear or nonexistent. The whole concept of Night was completely different, and the whole concept of Winter. The routine was much more centered around actual survival, not this pseudo-survival, mood-swing stuff that concerns us today. One of the weird things about Winter back then (for agrarian folks) was that they actually ate better in Winter than in Spring. It was in Spring--when all things come back awake, the light returns, and hope and ambition give spur to the spirit--that the food began to run out and folk were having to make do with the scrapings at the bottoms of barrels, and whatever unspeakable green stuff was early sprouting next to streams. Skunk cabbage, ummm!
For us, the greatest challenge of Spring is Tax Day. But I digress, don't I?


Robin said...

Having a warm pool to swim in three times a week.

Anonymous said...

I wonder, in reference to point 3, if civilization has already done away with this notion. Even on a summer day the kids and I can spend 3 hours at the park and never see another child, aside from the occassional teenager trying to hide from the sun. In the freezing cold? I see old ladies, people walking thier dogs, and more teenagers hiding from whatever they hide from in the winter. Almost never the walkers or the snowman builders. But I only notice because I think getting out there IS important, but I grew up in the countryside, not unlike the one you inhabit.

Do the 60% of human beings who live in Urban environments really need the weather? They seem to survive, they always have I guess. But is that all they do? survive.

I would like to thrive, not just survive.

Anonymous said...

URL missed, was supposed to be:
Team Hapa

Bruce Gee said...

Well, Scott. Perhaps not "civilization" per se. But your point about teenagers, in addition to making you appear to be a grumpy old man like me, is on the mark. I grew up getting up at 5 or so am to feed cattle and milk dairy goats. PLEASE NOTE: I would not have done so if not bullied into it by my demanding father. Still, it was in retrospect a valuable experience.

My wife OTOH grew up in sunny southern California, where they don't actually have something called, er, "winter". So now SHE'S the one bullying me to get out in it, if for no other reason than to feed and water the chickens and run the dog. Once she figured out the trick of keeping warm in winter, she started sort of liking it.

Sort of.

Joseph Abrahamson said...

Well, your Flet is awesome. But I gave my wife and myself Christmas presents that help us while away the winter.

I gave Mary a Bersa Thunder .380 (which she wanted very much) and myself a Springfield XD-9.

We fill our old milk jugs with water, set them outside to freeze and shatter ice targets together after a nice mile walk.

I've been saving up for a while to pull this surprise on her. And she enjoys it thoroughly. I've always like target shooting.

Incidentally, this is kind of a half-way step toward our self-reliance romanticism. Of course the tools are dependent on the grid. But living in an area that has experienced a mass murder, it's nice to have the tools to protect the family.

And as a winter survival strategy, I took three of my kids out today to go Jack Rabbit hunting, 2 handguns and 1 shotgun.

Plenty of Jack's here. And they do taste so good. Plus, 1 Jack can feed a family of 11 fairly well for a meal.

I feel sorry for you Wisconsinites. And I hope that your state can soon allow conceal carry for handguns. It makes winter handgun hunting so much easier.

Bruce Gee said...

Thanks, Joe. You would be surprised how wonderful it is to sit up there on a summer's evening. A little breeze, and surrounded by greenery.

Hand guns! What does an XD-9 fire? It must be a gas to hunt rabbit with a handgun, but you must have something bigger than a .22 bullet in there, eh?

Do you hunt rabbit with a dog, or just depend upon tracks in the snow to find them?

And this "family of 11" business: I've lost count. Help me out here. I thought you had six children. More? Grandparents? A family of Laotians upstairs?

Joseph Abrahamson said...

The Springfield XD-9 uses 9x19mm Luger rounds. We track the rabbits. I don't have enough time in this parish to be a good dog owner. We just have a couple of cats to keep the small rodent population down.

Hunting the rabbits is fun, cause they are wary and fast. We miss many more than we get, so far. There are thousands of them in this area. But today we had a big thaw. And as this snirt freezes they will be hard to track. But they seem to come out into the open more when it is really cold out (zero or lower).

As to the family of 11, we're not harboring immigrants. We've had three children since we moved up here. There's a family photo of us here.

Well, I still have Flet envy.