The other shoe — has it dropped yet?
Or are you still waiting?
It’s a funny thing, sitting here in
the early morning quiet, knowing full well the roofers will be
pounding away again by eight. In a strange way, although it is
a bit hard on the ears, I look forward to it. There are different
kinds of storms. Because I also think of war, and dwellings crashing
around those who made the tragic mistake of being born. We get a new
roof and they get
Has it dropped yet? Or are you still
Twenty-four degrees this morning.
And I’m glad you’re here.
I remember moving wood onto the porch
of my childhood home. From the door, it was a short direct line to
the fireplace. Eucalyptus, sycamore, peach, plum. Words, sweet on the
Twenty-six again this morning. I do
like to look back at the weather records, probably because it’s
something my father used to do, and partly too because memory is so
unreliable when it comes to weather extremes. A couple of days ago,
for instance, I noticed the record low was eight degrees, set in
2013. On yesterday’s date in 1972, it was minus-five. One forgets
these things. Something one doesn’t forget, though, is the long
hours spent pruning our vineyards and orchards during the winter
months. We worked in the cold, we worked in the thick San Joaquin
Valley fog, listening to the rhythm of our shears as their hum moved
up through the handles and into our hands, every sound magnified, a
sneeze or a laugh from the neighbor’s vineyard, the almost-sound of
someone’s far-off transistor radio. All of December. All of
January. Most or all of February. Sometimes even into March. The work
changes you. The cold changes you. And everywhere you turn, frozen
sculpture. Vine stumps revealed, looking like proud old men in a row.
And you recognize them. Planted by your father. Planted by his
father. Shaggy with bark. Like them. And what have you become? What
are you now? Are you still fruitful? Do lizards and horned toads
still congregate at your feet? Ha! You think I’m crazy, don’t
you. Well, you would be too.