blog description

Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Blizz of 2016

Rough times on the east coast last weekend!

From 70 degrees at Christmas, we descended into an old-fashioned hoot and holler of a snowstorm. I guess in central Pa it did not quite reach blizzard status, although the storm came, as all great blizzards do, from the Northeast, fat with ocean water.

There was wind and snow and snow and more snow. Here, where entire winters can pass without note, it was quite a sight. There was a part of me that found it welcome, after a NY childhood imprinted by stark Lake-Effect White Howlers.

New York State Thruway

For a little, I gazed out the window and sent my consciousness into The Dance of the Snowflakes (Swan Lake) and imagined Dame Helda (the German Calliach) doing her crone dance. It's beautiful when I simply fly on the wind as one of them, but frightening when I'm a human once more, gazing up at the swaying power lines upon which our civilization hangs.

Nearby, from where they'd been sitting, enjoying a grassy golf course, the local "Canadians" squawked. When the sky cleared the next day they flew in circles, bemoaning the loss of the open fields upon which they'd been so steadily grazing.

In the end, it was a local record: 30 inches of the white stuff in a 24 hour period. Briefly, our Hobbit name was "Under-Snow." It took a lot of digging--and some neighborly help--to get both cars out. And it's not so much the "digging" part, either, that's wearying. It's the trudge across the road and the toss up onto a high snow bank that's truly challenging.

Not that there was anywhere to go after we had completed our excavation. For once, most everyone paid heed to the warnings and stayed in. That steady stream of traffic which regularly hurries along "the back way" to the Park and the outlets, for today, anyhow, is silenced. Many neighborhoods in small poor urban areas remained choked with snow; days later, people had not managed to get out to work.

This morning, we chipped ice. As we age, falling becomes not just a concern but a definite possibility, as Gravity's attempts to drag us--once and for all--to the ground, seem to have recently redoubled.
~~Juliet Waldron

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Old Falling People

I hate this falling business that apparently goes with aging. Seems I've fallen more times in the last few years than I've fallen in the rest of my life. And, of course, it gets ever more dangerous to hit the ground as bones age.

My Grandma Liddle, may she RIP, fell and broke her hip at 99, which was the end of her life. The pain after an attempt to pin it became too much for her frail self. Her husband's step-mom also fell, back in the more cavalier 'late 40's. This Grandma Liddle lay in the cold--down the dirt farm road where they'd once farmed dairy cattle--until the postman happened along. Fortunately, the smart collie she owned came to lie against her and kept her from freezing during that long-ago upstate New York winter. She too ended in an old age home, bed-ridden; these were the days before hips were routinely repaired. Here, she too eventually died. These family histories have taught me that there's nothing good about falls after 60!

Now, I clean my house. I go to the gym. I do Zumba; I take weights classes and aerobic classes. I practice my balance in Yoga; I take long fast walks. During clement weather I ride my granny bike around town. I've fallen off that, too, more times than from my road bike that I rode constantly for twenty-five years.  It seriously ticks me off when I find myself, once more, sprawled on the darn ground.

Today I fell in the kitchen. I was vacuuming -- inadvisable for bad backs -- so I was being particularly careful (I thought) about not lunging or twisting. As I vacuumed along the ceiling where the cobwebs of winter have been gathering, I forgot to look down, stepped on a part of the wand I'd discarded a few moments before. When it rolled, I did too and ignominiously ended on the nice yellow linoleum, taking a blow on hip and shoulder as I went down.

As you might imagine, a few moments of quiet contemplation followed, while I checked to see if everything was still okay, the trick back, knees, etc. My husband was no help or comfort. I probably fell, in his mind, to inconvenience him--somehow. Don't ask WTF. Old men, that's a whole other subject.

~ Juliet Waldron