Gimme shelter…

February 4, 2011 § 13 Comments

There was no news (or so you might have thought) but only Weather this past week. The Midwest (and who can define that, exactly?) was under the white stuff’s seige.  Unblinking, we pre-shopped (went milking, breading, watering) well ahead of time and brought work home from the office so that Tuesday, the day it rained sleet and ice like little sugar balls for 10 hours, we gathered around the table in the biggest silence felt there since our son anounced he’d changed majors (again). 

We worked. We typed and clacked and sighed and backspaced and kept at it and looked at the clock and kept going and sometimes one of the three of us got up to fetch a snack for the trio. (It wasn’t a shared work session; only shared space.)  And I gotta say, when you work from home, you work longer. There is no cut-off time, no bell ringing and you press on.

Ah, but sometimes, too, one of us would get up from the table to walk around and stretch a little and inevitably  look through the wall of windows to watch the critters who live in the Backyard to eat at Lochcrest Seed Cafe. And come they did! And then came the excuse reason every couple of hours to coat-boot-and-hat up to refill  the feeder and throw some on the ground for the bigger birds and put another suet in the tree for the battling grackle and red-headed woodpecker, the latter being far more a gentleman.

The silence of it all, except the ping and hiss of  ice in the air, was beautiful. We didn’t play music; we rarely talked unless we happened to meet in the kitchen and look out the window at the same time. And then it was in a whisper as though we might scare the birds and the Archies (beloved squirrels – 3 of them, oddly enough)!  As if they could hear above the storm – but maybe they could?  Funny the details we don’t know sometimes about stuff that’s around us.

We  worked past dark. HM called us the Little House on the Prairie (he loved having us all together AND working).

On the soft side of the storm, the treat of it:  we got to witness the backyard ecosystem at hours we wouldn’t normally get for such observation.  

Here’s to all, great and small, who endured the storm no matter its manifestation.

WRITING LESSON:
 Looking at an art, or PRINT magazine or any number of  photography magazines: they will have you grabbing a pen in no time and writing on whatever’s around (tho’ those 2″x2″ stickies are NOT the best for recording a rash of thoughts, unless you write in a tiny hand), even writing on the magazine’s pages if desperate! Catch that spontaneity.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION:
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Wicked Bestiary by David Sedaris. The book might be physically small, nearly tiny, but it is, nonethess somehow a coffee table book (which, as you know, are typically behemoths full of pictures).  A guest, waiting on the couch to be called to dinner, could down one or two of the stories in this little tome in no time.

Sure, the stories picks up on human foibles, but the writing is fun in the way that the sardonic Sedaris can be fun. Also, you have to love the drawings.

Come to think of it, is the size of this new Sedaris a “take off” on the inimitable Ms (Beatrix) Potter’s wonderful animal stories?  I wonder.  Little matter: you can read him standing in the bookstore or peek at some pages online or, maybe pick it up the next time you’re visiting a booklover’s house where there it is, small and unassuming, on the coffee table.

The jay always has something to say; note his open beak as he makes racket from the branch, sounding much like his cousin the crow.

Archie enjoys praying over his sunflower seeds. Though we offered some old bits of bread, he stayed with the seed. And later, he enjoyed a literal windfall when the suet ball covered in various seeds was ripped from its branch by the wind. Archie just happened to be there and make good use of the now-grounded booty.

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§ 13 Responses to Gimme shelter…

  • Bellezza says:

    loved reading about the Winter Spell from your perspective. I can only dream about a house so quiet, quietness being one of the greatest things I yearn for. (Why do husbands insist on playing televisions at volume 900? Love him as I do…)

    I like how you’ve added a writing lesson and book recommendation to your posts. Things are very awesome around here.

    • oh says:

      Dear B, I don’t know what it is about TV volume and he who holds the remote!!!! Must be universal, though.

      So glad you stopped by. Yup, I’m way behind on reading and commenting and since it’s snowing AGAIN, will steal some time right now to back into blogworld!
      Cheers!

  • Damyanti says:

    Love your post, and your description of winter, and working from home. came over here from Linda’s blog where you had commented (I’ve been a lurker on your blog before)…and as I was telling her, living in the tropics where it is summer and rain everyday, and no other season, reading about snowfall and blizzards is a surreal experience.

    I love your writing lesson…been following it for the last week or so, writing from picture prompts on my blog.

    Thanks for sharing a snippet of your life, and hope to drop by again to read more soon.

  • I am so glad that this storm missed us… we just got about 5″ of snow on Monday, but nothing else. What a storm! This post kind of reminds me of the SATC episode in season 6 when NYC gets hit with a blizzard – I think Carrie comments on the silence of the city or something like that? I should probably go watch that now instead of studying. 😉

    • oh says:

      D – thanks for stopping by – your tropical weather is as surreal to me right now as our winter snow is to you, honestly! I am wearing three layers and socks and shoes. egads, I rarely wear socks and shoes but this is unprecedented. Send some warm our way. And keep writing those picture prompts – what fun – you will have al ovely chapbook of them at the fine rate you’re going!

      Lisa – I can’t believe a week has passed already since you were here. And what a funky week and this morning, I get dressed to go out and have coffee with two writer friends and let the dogs out and – wham! we have three more inches of fresh snow and it’s still snowing! I don’t mind when weather interferes with work, but on a weekend? when going to meet up with those of the writing ilk? pooh. Yes, I think it might be time, right now, to go in search of the SATC you mention!

  • seachanges says:

    How you make work sound lovable and exciting! I love your writing about every day and ‘normal’ activities and the way you make people look at the world in a different way. I admire your perseverance with the writing – once I go through periods in which I am inundated with work, I loose all sense of writing and all I can do is gobble up one book after another to keep a balance and get away from work. And I bought such a nice notebook….. all efforts gone with the wind. Hope it clears up soon where you are, although snow and garden life make for some wonderful pictures!

  • It must have been nice to have all the local wildlife coming to visit during the storm…

    I like this Writing lesson, I’ll need to try that sometime. And the book is one that I’ve heard of before, it dles sound intriguing!

  • anno says:

    Glad to hear you survived the storm… and, better yet, maybe even found in the pause a little creative vacation.

    Taking pictures, these days, seems to get in the way of writing about them in my case; maybe starting with someone else’s photograph could jumpstart my long-dormant writing interest — great idea!

    Hope you’re enjoying a restorative weekend!

  • typehype says:

    A lovely post and what a perfect way to spend a snow day – at home with your family, all of you cozy and productive.

    On this end, the F train was up and running and carrying me into the cold, icy city. No squirrels to be seen. A few rats, though!

  • shoreacres says:

    The sun is back and the ice is gone until Wednesday, maybe, which is good for all the creatures but not so good for my amusement. It’s been hilarious watching the birds try and keep their footing as they come in to land. But they’ve managed, and been rewarded with plenty of seed.

    Even the bluejays were back this morning. They call while they’re still on their way, and I scuttle to the kitchen to fetch their shelled pecans. I don’t dare put them out early, since the pigeons will eat them. But I grab a handful, the bluejays arrive and snatch them up, and everyone’s happy including Miss Dixie, who sits at the window and drools, watching those little feathered lunches hop around!

  • Ruth says:

    I love this scene you painted! Even though my university was closed Wednesday, I did not work from home as you three did. But there is something appealing about it nonetheless. At least you make it seem that way! And with nature outside, audible, yes.

    We stocked up on everything . . . except birdseed! We were scrounging for bread and whatever else we could to scatter on the snow, and then it would get covered quickly. Then our neighbor came and plowed the drive with his tractor, and there were the black sunflower seeds exposed. The birds were thrilled.

  • jeanie says:

    How I loved spending your snowday with you! I confess, on mine, I did not bring the huge stack of work I brought home. I had intended to work from home (as they NEVER close the U) and was shocked when they did. A freebie day! And I loved it.

    I smiled as I read of your communal writing — quiet, individuals, yet together. It reminded me of something I once wrote about Rick — we can be alone when we are together and together when we are alone.

    Sedaris — saw him speak (and read from the book) recently. If he comes your way, make sure to go. He’s delightful and I am told by sturdier soul than I that he stayed till he’d signed the last book, chatting amiably with each person in line. What he read from the book, and what I’ve heard on This American Life I adore!

    You remind me — time to check the seed. I’m not sure I can get to the feeders — the ground spray may be best…

  • litlove says:

    What a serene image that is, of the three of you working in the same space, quietly, watching the ecosystem of the backyard. It sounds almost monastic in its beauty and simplicity. Snow quiets the outside world, which means that the inner world can sometimes become very loud in its presence. It seems to me that you must be full of a rich and placid inner life because it comes out so easily and naturally, without anxiety or concern, in such moments.

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