snow upon snow

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you up to date on the latest news from our chilly garden. You may remember me from such posts as “An Almost Antlerless Day”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. This was taken on Christmas Day.I had to run out to the back fence to see what was there. I forget what it was, now.If you look at either of these pictures and can tear yourself away from looking at me (it’s hard, I know), you see those pieces of wood, one fallen down, on the left side of the shed? Those are old fence pickets which were put up so that raccoons who get on the shed roof can find a way to get off the shed without having to encounter the most vicious and deadly of purebred border collies. (Me.)

The guy I live with said that it was really the other way around. I could get seriously chomped.

Christmas Eve was pretty nice here.There were a couple of big hawks in the trees.

Back to Christmas Day, that was okay even though I was left alone for a couple of hours.

But things didn’t turn out the way he imagined they would. (He says they never do.) He did tell his mom how much he had loved Christmas as a kid in Los Angeles, a long time ago. He thought maybe he had never told her that and that it was about time he did.

The guy I live with thought that after taking his mom back to her house (she’s eighty-nine and still lives in her house, which is excellent for her), after the Christmas brunch, that we would just spend the evening together, listening to carols on the radio. There weren’t any carols, just this generic Christmas stuff, so the radio was turned off. He did sit on the couch with me, though, for a while.

This is what I did, on Christmas night. The ancient, creaky couch is very comfortable, as I’ve said before.You know how in movies they have a thing called “continuity”? I function as the continuity around here. (And companion, of course.) Except for a few days after Chess died, there have been purebred border collies in the house for over thirty years. He said that some sort of continuity can be worthwhile. We purebred border collies certainly define the word “worthwhile”, if you didn’t know. The guy I live with and I took a nap on the couch together last week, and I liked that a lot.

The guy I live with moped that night, because it was the ninth Christmas since his wife died, and that sense of her receding into the past made him very unhappy. On the other hand, he can still hear her voice, feel her touch, and often expects her to come up the stairs to say that “The Simpsons” is on. He said there’s not much he can do about the passage of time. He listened to the one carol that makes him really sad in that way, too. I’m not sure why he did that. He’s a mystery, sometimes.

It was about twelve degrees this morning. The grasses were poking up through the snow, along the canal. It was certainly nicer inside. That’s snow on my nose. I forget what I was wondering about. It’s always something, around here.It got up to about fifteen degrees (“really toasty”), and the guy I live with went on some errands. He had to go to the post office and called a couple of friends to say if they hadn’t heard from him in a couple of days, that’s where he would be, in line, and that I would need to be fed, cuddled, and taken on walks. But it only took a minute at the post office.

Meanwhile, the paperwhites are flowering, upstairs. These are ‘Ziva’, the ones you can get anywhere. They’re as good as any others. They’re pretty cheery, even if they do face the window.

Speaking of cheery, you may think that our house is fairly gloomy at this time of year, but it really isn’t. It’s not decorated the way it used to be, because the guy I live with doesn’t decorate (all of this stuff in the picture is the way it’s been for many years), but he did put candles in the candle-holders. (Except for the pine cone. He forgot that one.) He said that that one little thing, the candles, makes all the difference.And today the guy I live with finally got a picture of the towhee. I think we say “the towhee” because we’ve only seen one, for a couple of years now. These are zoomed-in pictures from the point-and-shoot so not terribly great. 

He often wonders why there’s only one towhee. (Between us, we do a lot of wondering.) This is the Spotted Towhee, and in fact we’ve seen it a lot. (The guy I live with thinks this is funny.) I guess the males and females aren’t easy to differentiate, and so maybe we see both and don’t know it.

We have all kinds of birds in the back yard now that the bird bath heater is plugged in. The guy I live with often gets all excited about taking bird pictures and then I go out and scare away the birds. He needs to have more of a sense of humor, there.

Okay, so, now, you may be wondering why winter is the guy I live with’s favorite time of year here. He doesn’t like cold weather and the thought of it makes him “all claustrophobic and stuff”; problems with cars, icy roads, frozen pipes (that happened here once), regretting the passage of time, getting sick; things like that.

It’s because, and he explained this to me very slowly, since I thought it was just totally bizarre,things change.

While it’s true that he will probably always be sad at this time of year, and snow and cold weather increase the sense of sadness, that changes here so rapidly that it’s hard to be sad for very long.

Right now, at about twenty after ten at night, it’s eleven degrees outside. Eleven. Not very many degrees at all.

It’s supposed to be fifty degrees tomorrow. And even warmer for the rest of the week. No, really. I guess we’re going to have a chinook early tomorrow morning.

I’ll leave you, now, with a picture of me on my walk tonight, when it was about fourteen degrees outside. I thought it was great. 

Until next time, then.



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21 Responses to snow upon snow

  1. lifecameos says:

    Merry Christmas to both of you Mani.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    You know, even though you talk about how sad this time of year is, it is good to hear from you.

  3. Rosie46 says:

    Mani – lovely to hear from you. I can tell you are fulfilling your duties and noticing that sometimes the guy you live with can be a bit sad at this time of year and you are being a bit sympathetic towards him. There is a little snow here today in Scotland but not as much or as pretty as yours – or not where it live anyway.
    I think your paperwhites are gorgeous.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; things seem much better now that the sun is out and it’s warmed up a great deal. 10C today. He was shocked that it had been nine Christmases.

  4. Cindee says:

    Well Mani It is way to cold there for me. I like Winter too for the break it gives me from all the outside work though.(-:
    My Mom use to talk about the Chinooks. Where do you live?
    I am in California.
    Wow Mani your Grandma is 89 and living on her own that is wonderful!
    I often wish I had told My Grandma how much I appreciated all the work she went to for our family dinners. I am sure she knows now.(-:
    The holidays always bring those feelings of sadness for me too. I miss everyone who has left this earth.
    Well I hope you have a wonderful day!

    • paridevita says:

      We live on the western outskirts of Denver. If you do a search on the blog, “where we live”, you can see pictures, if you look at the whole blog. In the first picture taken from the top of the mesa you can see Red Rocks amphitheater. It was 55F here today, and sunny. Things change.

  5. Mark Mazer says:

    The saddest part of life is not spending a lifetime with the ones you love. Purebred border collies teach this.

  6. Well, heck. Not much to say here except I like where you live, Mani, indoors and out. I also adore pics of you, indoors or out. Two observations: The towhee is plumb and the raccoons – who knew that word has two “c”s – better watch out. I told my friend who is bereaved about the grieving through the holidays class that might be available, sharing a tip I read here. We got to talking, and I learned she has a new appointment scheduled with her former counselor. She said talking with me about grieving helped to validate her feelings. Please pass this along to the guy you live with.
    He calls it right: very little caroling was available this year over public airwaves. I was never clear, Mani, about whether you lived to the east or west of Denver. Now I know almost exactly where, so I have your location pinned down. Things change, I know they do, but you remain adorable. Happy New Year.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; same to you. The guy I live with’s friend lost her mom this past September and she asked if he would go to a “coping with the holidays” work session with her last month and of course he said yes. Today is a different day. He said, with some surprise in his voice, that he was unable to recapture the sad feelings of Christmas night. Sort of a post-Christmas letdown thing like when he was little, he suddenly couldn’t remember the excitement of the coming of Christmas just a few days after the day itself. (Technically of course the season starts on Christmas Day and ends on Twelfth Night, the sixth of January.) But anyway, that was apparently that, for the super-sad feelings. I’m sure I’ll hear about them again at that time next year. The raccoons live, or lived (maybe they moved on) next door. It was 50 today; 37 degrees here, right now, at 10:15 p.m., with a light breeze. Warmer tomorrow.

  7. Barb K says:

    I don’t know what it is about Christmas. The minute you are alone it brings up Christmas Past with its attendant sad thoughts. But a day to go outside is such a help. Say, has TGYLW ever tried Pandora? Through much hard work paring and suggesting I achieved a Christmas station that plays only actual carols. Because you are working with a computer it will occasionally slip in a non Christmas song but it happens more and more seldom. Well, a happy New Year to us all….

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; Happy New Year to you, too. The guy I live with said that this coming Sunday evening might be sad, too. Another year. Pandora was tried here but we have “browser issues”. The guy I live with said it was a miracle we could even do blog posts, sometimes.

  8. I feel the poignancy of time passing. Makes me misty eyed for your guy remembering…

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks, though the guy I live with said this year seemed almost endless, it’s amazing how quickly time seems to pass. Still, he was talking to his best friend on the phone the other day, and he started to go downstairs to say something—after eight and a half years of the rooms downstairs being dark.

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