A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Global Warming?

global warningWeird weather for January. I should be concerned--I am concerned--for The Earth if it's a global trend with catastrophic implications, but on a purely local level I feel a guilty pleasure every time the temperature soars to 50 degrees or so. The Emory House is a bear to heat. It's huge and only partially insulated, with a boiler that's just new enough to be not worth changing, but nowhere near as efficient as the latest heating systems.

If it's in the fifties, it's warmer outside than in. My thermostat is set to 51 degrees...any lower and I risk bursting a pipe. The boys hole up in their rooms with space heaters, so they're comfortable as long as they stay put. Occasionally they'll make a run for the kitchen, wearing parkas. From my loft above the kitchen I can hear the slam of the kitchen door...footsteps...the slam of the pantry door or a cabinet...the beepbeepbeep of the microwave...utensil drawer being opened, then slammed...footsteps...the kitchen door again. Then silence.

Every three days or so, I'll open a kitchen cabinet and stare at empty space. Where eighteen glass mugs should be--nothing. Eight breakfast plates, eight bowls--all gone. I open the dishwasher--nearly empty. So I call up to the third floor on my cell phone (too far to shout; too much trouble to walk) and demand dishes. A few minutes later Amir will appear balancing a precarious stack crusted with dried cereal, ramen, beef stew, and nacho cheese.

He'll obligingly fill the dishwasher if I mention it; otherwise just dump the armload on the counter for Mom to deal with. Sometimes he'll say something like, "Brrr, it's freezing in this kitchen," but it's not a complaint, just a statement, the way you might comment on the weather outside. He and Ali have pretty much accepted conditions around the house. Hell, if they liked, they could be with their dad in Newport Beach, California; they choose to live in Massachusetts with me.

I was walking the dog a couple of days ago and I saw this umbrella on the sidewalk. It had been pretty windy, but even so! No fabric at all--just the handle and spokes. A skeleton of an umbrella. Like a symbol of something. Something--but not January!

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