Monday, December 14, 2009

The Downs in Winter

Winter has come to the Downs, as it has to the rest of Caledon. This may be my favorite season, when all is white and unsullied, with the promise of possibilities. One can venture outside, taking in a lungful of frigid air, and seeing one's breath as one exhales. The bare trees rest from the summer's exertions, save for the occasional bird that lands on a branch, staring regally at its surroundings.

Inside, the roaring fire and hot cocoa restore the warmth sucked away by the wind and the distant sun. It's time to select a volume of poetry, or perhaps pen a long-delayed letter, or simply nap by the fireplace. Nothing need be done; there is no place to go. Should something arise, the horse can move the carriage easily through the snow, and get us safely to our destination. However, nothing is pressing: no social events are on the calendar, no invalids need seeing to, and the larder is full. I am content.

My typist, on the other hand, has a different attitude toward winter, the attitude of a tired, jaded, and altogether too busy person. Winter is cold, dark, and dreary, with snow or ice falling when it is least convenient. As one cannot escape obligations, including the obligation to restock the pantry, the obligation to travel to one's place of employment, and the obligation to visit friends and relatives at a certain Festive Time of the year, the roads do not suddently empty when they become more treacherous. Instead, they slow to a crawl, making the white-knuckle drive that much longer. The environmentalists frown on the fire which, in any event, is dirty; the central heating is nice, but expensive. That stack of unread books and unwritten letters beckons, but so do all the chores left unattended during autumn.

So there you have it: Real Life turns one into a curmudgeon. Avoid it whenever possible.

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