Icy cold today, maybe 10 below zero. Need to go out to post office and bank, bills, end of year things I forgot, almost overdrawn, wrote too many checks forgetting the money is draining like the bathtub.
Slight hesitation. Still slight cough. Remembering Monday morning and feeling like a truck on my chest. Anyone who has any respiratory disease like COPD or emphysema, asthma, or panic attacks, anything that rips your breath out of you… knows the feeling of fear when venturing out the day after, wondering if the breath will go in and out of your lungs or get stuck in the throat like a chokehold.
Ventured out and it is icy icy cold, sunny blue sky. The ground feeling so cold it will crack underneath your feet. But onward I went all bundled up and felt immediately that I would be ok.
What a feeling! Breathing in icy air and not drowning. Walking and moving normally, not bent over like an old woman taking baby steps and crawling like a crippled frightened little sloth.
Sad to see my neighbors already tossed their Christmas tree on the parkway. A fresh green vivacious young tree, still full of wonder and magic, even lying there forlorn, unadorned, no ornaments or lights and still beautiful. Don’t they know it is still Christmas, actually still Christmas even here in America until January 6th? It is only December 31 the year winding down, and it is so lovely to have lights and candles glowing in the house to welcome the New Year. It is lovely and joyful to walk down the dark winter streets and see the Christmas trees in cozy living rooms or dining rooms twinkling with lights, especially soft and warm winter lights. Why must the trees always be tossed so soon? Many people in town toss them December 26. December 26! Oh well, their loss of joy and magic.
To bank and post office. Very cold, but I was dressed warmly and glad I didn’t see any more trees tossed out. My cheeks cold and almost icy, the air going down my throat in little jagged breaths. I breathed through my nose to save my lungs from working too hard, but I was not afraid anymore.
Stepping out of the bank I hear a great rustling of a thousand taffeta skirts from long ago, like a ballroom full of dancers waltzing furiously and colliding. Happily laughing and rustling and jangling their bracelets and diamond tiaras and necklaces. I looked up and saw a flock of starlings suddenly appear from nowhere, descending on an old tree full of brown crinkled leaves– so many trees keep their leaves a very long time. The birds were eating tiny wrinkled black berries and some were eating the leaves. A mass of speckled starlings on this tree on this icy windy day and me overhead startled, and then thrilled at their unexpected presence. Oh my darling starlings, thank you for waking me up again!
I walked, almost danced to the post office and home again. Getting colder and icier and my mouth breathing more and more air and wind, but it felt good
it felt delicious, it felt like icy thrashing rivers and I did not want to go home, I did not want to enter the house, I wanted to wander and wander and wander and breathe ice and cold and it felt like all the rivers of the world and all the icy clean breath of the world. It felt prehistoric, it felt clean, it felt purifying, it felt like a cold and starry sky, like ice queens in the moon and I breathe and breathe and breathe and am exhilarated with my own icy breath, rushing down my throat like ghost daggers, the ice cold keys in my hands opening the front door, and now the Christmas tree burning with red, amber and gold light and dark ornaments in red and gold and claret and burgundy and ox blood and ruby and the night is mine and the breath is mine and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.