Tag Archives: wind

Relentless…

The forecasters were right; we got clobbered with snow last night. The storm began around 2pm, and did not let up until 10am or so. I ventured out to shovel last night, but my efforts proved futile. Twice I braved the elements and  managed to scrape six inches of snow from the driveway. This morning, though, was an entirely different story.

DrivewayDonning sundry winter gear, I grabbed my shovel and gazed at the herculean task before me. It was daunting. I tried to open the sun room screen door, but it wouldn’t budge. I had to exit via the garage. The snow was above my waist.

My wife gave me a tape measure and here, in Sturbridge, if you count the six inches I shoveled last night, we received 36” inches of snow. Three feet. Ugh. There was nothing else to do but put shovel to snow, again and again.

It was a great workout, and eventually I vanquished the white stuff. The hardest part was trying to find places to toss the damn stuff. (The photo below is where our cats like to perch and watch birds. But not today.)

Outside Basement Window

Outside Basement Window

There was a driving ban in effect, so only plows plied the roads. They were few and far between so mostly silence embraced me.

Taking many pauses from my exertions, I allowed myself to become enveloped by nature. The snow swirled, the wind whipped fine mists of snow on me, and in places where I just shoveled.

Just standing there in the frigid grip of winter was, surprisingly, comforting. I was part of winter, attuned to the wind and the snow and the silence. It was therapeutic.

Two hours later, the job was done. I stomped snow from my boots, peeled off ice encrusted garments, and joined my love on the sofa for a deliciously warm and healing cup of joe.

Back Door of Sun Room

Back Stairs of Sun Room

So even though we got whacked by Ol’ Man Winter, it was still a pleasure to immerse myself in the vagaries of the storm.

The storm proved relentless, but it allowed moments of being in the Moment.

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Dad’s Place…

I visited my Dad’s spot, a welcome refuge from the bustle of a typical day, and I stayed long enough to witness a heron, one of my Dad’s favorite birds.

The area is located in Wells State Park, accessed by taking Route 49, and Dad’s particular spot was along a walk he frequented, a narrow path carved out of the ever-encroaching flora. My jaunt today bypassed his path. Instead, I opted for a rock-strewn dirt path that paralleled the power lines, the constant hum of the wires accompanying me as I trudged along the meandering trail.

In past postings, I have mentioned this spot. It is where I paid homage to my father, for he died just over two years ago and here I built a little secular shrine in his honor. A plaque blends seamlessly into the bark of an oak tree, and below I built a little garden. Near the tree is an old stone wall, and just to the end of it sits a massive rock, a perfect perch to watch the lagoon where herons roost.

Over the summer Julie and I ventured there, to sit quietly and gaze out into the spires of dead trees, where the herons had built sturdy twig nests. The squawks and cries of the heron chicks reverberated across the swamp. If we sat completely still, we were treated to the magnificent sight of a heron in full flight, its primordial presence  flapping in slow motion as it circled and landed on a twisted branch. The chick eagerly strained its neck, beckoning for sustenance.

Today started off cool, with mid-morning temperatures in the 40’s. I quietly walked along the trail, with camera in hand, and arrived at the memorial. I enveloped all my senses; the rustling of the crisp, oak leaves above; the soft, diffused wispy Hopper-esque clouds; the distinct aroma of early fall decay, and the cool, rough surface of the stone.

It was…magical.

I said hi to Dad, and sat in silence. A lone hawk swirled effortlessly in the brilliant cerulean sky. Another heron flew into view and perched upon a limb. A frog suddenly appeared, peered up at me and, with a squeal, submerged. The swamp grass sensuously waved in the cool, September breeze, and I became one with the sheer ethereal beauty of nature.

So long, Pops. It was nice coming here to see you. I hope that all is well in your world. I miss you very much.’

I got up, took one more look around, and left. Along the way I took a few photos, of the foliage and of the deep, eerily dark woods, and another pond, where lily pads bathed in sunlight. Two turtles were sunning on hummocks, and everything was just perfect.

Every now and then, it is nice to witness nature in solitude, especially this personal patch. And even though I was alone, I know my Dad was with me in spirit.

Goodbye, Dad. I love you.

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.

Along Dad’s Trail…

"Two Days Before..."Yeah, that’s Pops once again, but one can never get enough of their father, once he is no longer here.

I mention this because today I went for a pleasant walk in the woods with my 10 year old boy, a child who has met my Dad on more than one occasion in the past, and I thought that it would be a great idea to honor ‘Pops’ with a stroll along one of his favorite jaunts.

It’s a trail off the beaten path, within Wells State Park (a most enchanting place where I grew up) and my son readily agreed to accompany me on this brief outing.

After parking my car at the gate’s entrance, we ventured past the driveway and ambled along the dirt road that led to the trail. I pointed out various things to my son, and he seemed to absorb everything I said, inquiring here and there about the woods, about my Dad, his ashes, and how he died.

It was a calming hike, but tinged with a hint of melancholy. As the wind whistled high through the swaying pine trees, I felt the presence of my dear Dad and he seemed to be a part of the gentle wind. His spirit soothed my somewhat saddened visage. And knowing that at least part of his remains–his ashes–reside in a pond off this path brought a comfort to my soul.

The walk, with my dear stepson, proved to be healing, and I was glad to have his company. He asked pointed questions, and seemed to ponder the idea of death, and what becomes of a human being after the dark cloak of death embraces a departed soul. Like most people, he enjoyed seeing my Dad, whenever we happened to see him.

Coming full circle through the woods, we wended our way back to the car. All in all, a pleasurable stroll, more pleasurable knowing that we walked in the same footsteps of my dear Dad.

‘I felt you there, Pops, and I wish you well, wherever your spirit may be. I love you.’

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.

Brumal Weather…

Here is but a slight commentary on the trials of pumping gas in frigid conditions.

How many times have you been traveling along the byways, only to realize that your gauge is harrowingly close to that dreaded red line. On an evening when the wind chill hovers around -12, no one wants to sputter along the road, coming to a silent stop upon the curb, suddenly knowing that you have indeed run out of gas. Perhaps at this juncture a few choice words come to mind, such as ‘Drat!’, or, ‘Darn!’, or ‘Egad!’ (and I am quite certain that a few other choice words may be emitted under such duress.)

But this is about finding yourself close to no petrol, and easing into an open bay. The wind has picked up, its dark and bitterly cold outside. You fumble with your credit card, valiantly attempting to decipher this particular gas station’s pumps. (Why on earth are they not universal in nature?)

You figure it out, you put in the amount, and then you pump and stand there.
And continue to stand. And stand some more, peering at the dial as it slowly wends it way toward your total in an excruciatingly sluggish manner. The 10ths tick off, the wind has picked up even more, and by now you are absolutely chilled to the bone.

Finally, the pump stops but, before taking out the nozzle (and maybe this is just a guy thing…) do you give it an extra shake or two, getting every last drip out of it before replacing it?

The duty done, you replace the cap, return to the relative warmth of your car, and continue along your journey, trembling at the lingering effects of winter’s grip upon your bones, and cursing the fact those last few cents of gas seemingly took forever to finish.  (Painting above: “Gas”, by Edward Hopper, 1940.)

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.