Monday, February 10, 2014

Beautiful Ruins

We are coming out of a snow and ice storm in our city that began on Thursday afternoon.  My office closed its doors two hours early to give everyone a chance to get home safely amidst torrential winds that blew heavy snow as if up from the ground.  The streets made it seem I was driving across waves.  I stopped on the way home to stock up on groceries, which I had to do two days later with the help of my husband and our pick-up truck.  This time, at a different grocery store, I found it funny that half of the chip aisle had been depleted.  It got me wondering how much weight our city has put on and what the population spike might be come November.

I have always loved 'snow days', those moments of imposed rest on a culture that is so over scheduled.  For Friday and Saturday, my family did nothing.  My son spent seven hours outside Friday, coming in only for 15 minutes to inhale a meatloaf sandwich.  A gaggle of neighborhood kids went with us to sled down the public staircases near our house and eventually ended up eleven block away on an incredibly steep hill where it seemed most of our neighborhood had gathered.  As my kids and their friends sledded, my niece and I walked to the drugstore and for fast-food coffee, the only place open.

By Sunday, we were further holed up at home due to an ice storm that coated the city in a couple inches.  Church was cancelled.  We went back to the sleep sledding hill which this time was ruled by daredevil teenagers who sped down as quickly as possible.  One was sliding down on an upside-down plastic table that he proudly told me he found in his backyard.  For whatever reason, the group of name-brand dressed teenagers were ignoring him, barely acknowledging me when I asked once if my kids should wait for them to go first.  I hated the look the one gave me as he shrugged in my direction and said, "Go ahead" while he texted.  I hate that brand of teenager, the smug, rich ones who can't be bothered to be civil when an adult asks them a simple question.

That being said, it was entertaining to watch the careen down the hill, even though I did feel sorry for the outcast one, the one with a upside down plastic table.

We ate burrito bowls and toffee oatmeal cookies, and I worried about how much weight I was putting on during this storm.  The kids, surprisingly, watched not too much TV.  My son watched The Empire Strikes Back and we all watched the first half of Oliver!  One of the nights, they watched Hercules and Pocahontas with their cousin who lives with us.

They watched two in a row because I was deep into the book Beautiful Ruins.  I finished during the storm, deeply satisfied by this meandering yet tidy nugget of a story.  I was so happy to find a Milan Kundera quote:

There would seem to be nothing more obvious, 
more tangible and palpable than the present moment. 
 And yet, it eludes us completely.  
All the sadness of life lies in that fact.

It's why I write these posts.  I cannot forget.  I can't.  This present moment: that's what I have.  Please, God, don't let it elude me.

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