Monday, March 31, 2008

Drought to Deluge

Walked through water this morning on the way to meet a student. Predictable exclamations about the changeable weather. Ridiculously warm last week, now back to freezing. Drought to deluge. Oh, this weather! Next up, we will be talking about The Speech from March. Ah, American politics, so many quirky, complex workings, so rich with vocabulary and nuance. "Voter apathy" and "partisan politics."

By the time we finished a couple of hours later, it was really "coming down." Boldly messy. Students and shoppers dashing about either covered to the gills (as I tend to be) or lightly covered with a light jacket or a Tshirt (!?) and no umbrella. It makes coming back inside feel that much more cozy.

And then.

... God dammit. I just saw news of another local woman killed by someone who she'd had a restraining order against. I have to pause to scream in frustration. *Grrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaiiiigh!!!* When are we going to find a solution to protecting people who are beset with crazy, violent, and controlling people?? *siiiiigh*

I've known controlling men. I've been lucky to extricate myself with a middling dose of drama. Except for that one guy I was engaged to... who for years later would call me up long distance and talk nonsense. Yeah. I'll tell you that story some time.

On Da Udder Blog, I told the sordid drama of an ex-friend who perpetrated a lot of controlling behavior, culminating in a few unhinged crazy scenes before I slammed on the door on her for good. I could see it coming, but I didn't nip it in the bud, and then that...

I've even been controlling myself, based on fear, but I've let most of that crap go. These days, I find myself resisting any hint of controlling behavior, however innocent.

It's so easy to get sucked into other people's weird patterns until one learns the hard way. I don't blame this young lady at all... my god, she was only 18!~~ Too young to have learned to firmly avoid the controllers... to slap him down, leave him in the ditch, and walk briskly far, far away... And even then, a really persistent stalker can make your life scary hell. What else could she have done? That's the sad thing, really. Are we so helpless in the face of societal vultures that they pick off whoever they please? Don't answer that--it's too depressing.

What? Too much drama already? I agree. I get worked up about these things, but I'm trying to ... let it go a little. I don't want to *live* there. (What did Schmutzie call it? Congenital morbidity?) So let's get back to the rain. Please.

Considering the amount of drought we've been suffering in the last year, this kind of soaking is very welcome. Although it has been truly *messy* weather--no half-hearted sprinkle here-- I was struck by how *clean* it looked, sluicing away the dust and dirt accumulated from 10+ months of no car washes, washing away the early pollen, washing the pink cherry blossoms to bedraggled silk. I am reminded of a German word: gließen. It's pouring, flowing, sluicing, even. "Es gließt." We need a good sluicing. Renewal.

Bright, sherbet-colored tulips glowing against the dark wet ground.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rain-Stomping Challenge

A new start for this blog! Less angst, more twitter brevity. Or something in between. We'll see.

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Today was my sister's birthday. We celebrated, as my family often does, by getting together for cake and ice cream, conversation, games, and a hike.

It was rainy and chilly out--a real change from this week's earlier sunny temps in the low 80s. But the rain drizzled out after a while, so after our cake and homemade ice cream (nice to have a BIL from a dairy family!), we roused ourselves to go out for a good stomp across the fields. It had stopped raining, so we could justify going out. We had brought rain gear and boots, but we still managed to get a little drenched. Overcast skies and misty air. It actually felt very refreshing as long as my core was comfortably warm. Fleece layers and G0re-Tex rain gear does wonders. My boots, however, are about shot for damp conditions. The socks got pretty wet by the end.

Down the hill, and around, across a small creek, up around the old beaver dam area, up another broad slope with a scattering of wild mustard, and another mile or so across the "front lawn," looping back along the drive. Overall, a fun stomp-about.

A friend once noted that my family hikes/walks at every major holiday. Yup. That and at birthdays, or any excuse to get together!

There must be other people or families who do similar walk-abouts, but I don't know them. We must have been raised in a vacuum, not knowing that there were others out there who thought/enthused about/did the same kinds of things, although most of my cousins enjoy similar excursions.

There is something bracing about both submitting to and protecting against the elements. When a snow storm comes, who stays inside? My mother goes for a walk! We have heard the story told gleefully innumerable times since childhood how when she'd go out on the lake with her uncle, he would throw the paddles overboard so that they would have to paddle with their hands to navigate.

I know my mother learned that kind of enjoyment of being outside in any kind of weather from her father, my grandfather, and her uncle. It's a cheerful gung-ho attitude, prevailing against discomfort. Who says life is easy? Maybe we test ourselves against predictable difficulties to practice our fortitude--and our attitude.

It appears that small discomforts challenge us, season us. So that when the larger challenges appear, we've learned to keep our heads, to hunker down, and maybe even to enjoy addressing the challenge.

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