February 24th, 2007

Roman

The day dawns

I woke with another headache this morning. And for whatever reason, my body wasn't ready to greet the day. But the animals were on me, insisting that I get up, so I did. I got them fed and they quieted down, and I got myself medicated and coffeed and fed and even showered and now I too am quieted down and, in a strange way, grateful to the noisy, ungrateful beasts who would not let up.

If I were religious I might say I'm blessed.
Roman

UP Sensibility

You can take the woman out of the U.P. but you can't take the U.P. out of the woman.

I was born in Los Angeles but grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This is the place some people think is a part of Canada. We lived in Marquette, on the shores of Lake Superior, the largest fresh water lake in the world, as I recall, although not the deepest. I believe it has the distinction of also being the coldest, which is why it is so clear, so beautiful.

Winters in the U.P. are no picnic. It takes a hardy soul, or one with a warm garage and hot American car, living on regularly maintained roads, to live there. A while back, when people were escaping the big cities, many of them ended up there. And left soon after. Not quite the idyllic paradise they thought it was. It's been economically depressed as long as I've been alive and that doesn't look like it's going to change. Literally, you "can't get there from here" many times of the year, meaning it can get closed in, isolated. Marquette often has the distinction of getting the greatest amount of snow in a season. Many joke about the length of the winters there, suggesting that they are year-round. They aren't, of course, but summers seem short by comparison.

So I know cold. And these days, in NYC, I venture out when the temperature is in the low twenties and it feels almost warm. It certainly feels good. It reminds me, somehow, of the best part of the cold winters so many years ago. The feeling of the cold on my face, the low sun, the sight of people wrapped in many forms of warm clothing. Actually, when I lived in the U.P. - more than half a life ago - temps in the 20s were considered spring-like. We could actually enjoy the snow without getting frostbite. When the thermometer hit the 30s, hoo boy! Who needed a coat? It delights me to discover that somehow this part of me is still inside, that a part of me is still that hardy U.P. soul.