View from Mattie’s Pillow

Here’s news of the psyche.

Deep cold persists here. At forty below or colder, metal becomes brittle. Things break. Anything plastic can shatter at the slightest bump. And the psyche, usually plastic and pliable, becomes brittle, sharp-edged, and dense.

We are all waiting for the cold to lift and tallying up the list of broken things to repair: frozen pipes, a car window that won’t roll down, a phone line inexplicably dead, our frayed good will. It takes so much effort just to get the car started and drive to town that we do without things like ice cream rather than go to the trouble.

In a few days, the temperature is supposed to rise above zero. Next week, the first of a series of meetings and other activities starts. These dark days, the last of Winter Break, the first of my sabbatical semester, will seem such a luxury in memory once the activity of spring begins.

Spring, however, is a matter for the psyche here in the Interior–we’ll have snow till late April, into May (ah, even writing those words brings some relief). Spring finds its way to us through dreaming of gardens, browsing seed catalogs, beginning the slow conditioning of horses for the first day of good footing and riding. Then, in a day, the snow will be gone, the birches will be a cloud of yellow-green, the cranes and geese will babble in the sky, the horses’ coats will shed in ragged patches, and the garden will already seem behind schedule.

On the radio, just now, a warning about ice fog, bad air quality, driving with lights on, or better yet not driving at all.

Thanks to all who’ve visited this blog. I’ll post more poetry challenges, for the psyche.

Update: 11:30 Alaska Standard Time–Sun on the eaves for the first time in weeks.

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