…falling faintly…faintly falling…

Snow, as it falls, is so beautiful.   I always think of this:

“Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

the final, most beautiful passage from “The Dead.”  James Joyce

John Huston’s The Dead – Finale (YouTube)

But when the loveliness gives ways to freezing rain and slick footing, I’m thinking different things.

Monday’s snow has almost completely melted, but you could still ice skate in our front yard now (Sunday afternoon).  We have a lot of trees.

front yard
front yard, Sunday afternoon

In fact, my fireplace hasn’t seen a lot of action in the past couple of days.  My little trek to the woodpile is rather dicey.  Rather slick.

In the past two years, I’ve had two good falls on ice.

One was last winter, when I fell down six concrete stairs while taking out the garbage.  There was a lot of snow on the ground then, and I didn’t get hurt.

the stairs I went down on my back

The second was this Monday, as the snow began to fall.  I took a walk, enjoying the beauty, and fell flat on my back.

I associate falling on ice with skiing, sledding, and getting a day off school — fun things I enjoyed when I was younger and smaller.

After blogging about this earlier in the week — trying to be funny — two of my Facebook friends reminded me that falling as an adult is not always that funny.

Glenda Dyson said she broke her tail bone a few years ago.

Joan Palmer said she broke her wrist last year.

It takes me two days to deliver Coffee News throughout Rowan County.  I began Thursday afternoon.  Walked on plenty of ice and kept my balance the whole time.

As I was leaving the house on Friday morning — a day that would involve much stepping on ice — my wife had just returned from walking the dog.  They had been gone awhile.

“Did you fall?” I asked.

“Just once,” she said.  “On my back.”

As the day progressed, I mentioned falling to a few other people, and almost all of them had, indeed, fallen.

Perhaps I possess a special intuition about who falls down.  Or perhaps a lot of people fell on all this ice.

Walking into a retail store, I met one of the employees at the door.  We exchanged pleasantries.  When he asked how I was doing, I said, “Fine.  Only fell once.”

“I fell,” he said.  “Taking out the garbage.”

When I delivered to the Ro-Med waiting room, I ran into one of my son’s friends from school (now all grown up).

“You okay?” I asked.

“I’m fine,” she said.  “Just here with Mom.  She fell.”

Then she pointed to her mother, sitting next to her and sporting a big red bump on her forehead.

A waiter warned me to be careful.  “It’s slick out there,” he said.

“I know,” I said.  “I fell once.”

“Me too,” he said.

So here I sit, beside the fireplace, with no fire.  Last night I slipped and slid my way to the woodpile.  I guess I’ll try it again now.  It’s a risk, but the warmth of the fire is worth the drama of walking on ice.

busting my ass

Just took a great walk this afternoon — getting in my 10k steps on a snowy day.

Before I left, I put several logs on the fire so that it would be simmering nicely upon return.

catawba snow
Catawba College, snow

I had already been outside a good bit, and my feet — covered by a pair of thin socks and damp tennis shoes — were wet and cold. So I transformed that situation by putting on two pair of thicker socks. All was good.

The snowflakes were large and steady, and it was all very beautiful.

I had the idea it would be nice to take a little detour, off the sidewalks, and onto a little road that goes through a section of woods — a particularly pretty street that I enjoy quite often.

Except in order to get there, I walked across the parking lot next to the Catawba College football stadium — and this is where I fell and busted my ass.

Luckily, I landed on the most padded part of my body. I noticed a bit of general pain from head to buttocks, but mostly I hurt my pride, not body.

After retrieving my hat and getting up, I headed home, feeling much like an old fool and thinking I would finished the remaining 3,000 steps in the mall.

However, before taking off my coat, I called the mall and nobody answered the phone.  A couple of inches of snow had rendered it closed.

In fact, many things are closed. The banks closed. I arranged to meet someone at the local coffee shop, and it was closed.

“Better get back on the horse,” I said to my wife — and I re-entered the snowy outside and finished my steps, sticking to the sidewalk.

A few thoughts:  When snow and ice is involved, stick to the sidewalk or road or path. Avoid parking lots. Walk while God is busy — during the most active part of the snowfall. Before the walk, bring in lots of wood.

I occurs to me that “busting one’s ass” can have two completely opposite meanings.

Working hard, studying hard, getting a lot done, creating something amazing.  When you “bust your ass” in order to do these things, it’s good.

But walking on a slick parking lot, going down, and actually busting your ass, is — momentarily, at least — more of a negative experience.

The Night Before Halloween

Here in the dark I cannot see
the yellow of the maple tree.
Leaves holding tight, while I awaken.
Dying leaves, crisp as bacon.

Leaves that love to beam their light
certainly must hate this night.
A night of heavy sirens, fiercely free
a scare for such a gentle tree.

In Carolina, autumn likes to preen.
Trees are yellow, red, bare, and green.
But it’s also got its sneaky side.
A loss of value.  That downward market slide.

An elder dogwood, such a lovely thing
has dropped its bark, will not bloom this spring.
And all along the sleeping street
sleepers think of loss with every beat

hoping longer nights can make the mind forget
what in the light will be dead, or living yet.