Weather Exfoliation

Welcome to Monday, please keep your limbs (and your skull, don’t forget that) inside the carriage. No, really, it’s for your own good.

The wind is up, the cedars are dancing, and plenty of heat damage is being exfoliated. Literally, that is–dried and dead bits have been swept briskly from branches, twigs, and trunks, landing with thumps and bumps. An edge or two of lashing rain passed through yesterday as well, while the kids and I were all home, cosy and buttoned-up.

It was nice to light a log of compressed sawdust in the upstairs fireplace and settle on the couch. Watch the rain, watch the wind, watch the fire, yawn, maybe take a sip of something spicy-warm, and go back to reading a book. I’m halfway through Shirer on Nazi Germany once more, having read it last a decade ago, and swinging wildly between “the situation is different from the 30s” and “well, nothing much changes in this benighted world, does it.”

I suspect a good run this morning will put me right. It’s nearing the end of the witch’s year, after all, and of course I feel a little under the (blustery) weather. Most of it is the persistent sense that I’ve lost two years due to the pandemic. Time has become weird and elastic, and both my children have missed what we think of as major life markers because of it.

Or, more precisely, not due to pandemic but to the persistent fumbling non-response of a crumbling empire in the face of plague. I hadn’t expected, reading Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, to see it repeated in my own lifetime.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew it was going to happen ever since the post-9/11 march to war. I just…thought it would take a little longer. Rome’s autocracy-fueled crumbling was a matter of centuries, America’s seems to be a matter of decades.

Of course we could be looking at a shakeup before a renewal and a great advancement in civilization and human enlightenment. That’s always possible. I just don’t want to get my hopes up, because every time I do, it’s a big ol’ kick in the teeth right afterward.

The end of a cycle always provokes such thoughts. I don’t think I’m alone in them, either.

There’s bread to bake and children (my own and others’) to care for. There are books to write, dogs to walk, kindnesses to practice on a daily basis. There’s laundry to do and movies to watch (Irma Vep is next on the list) and, as always, books to write, even if I’m taking it easy before November arrives with NaNo and a looming revision to a certain magical-realism diptych.

I suppose a load of candy and the burning of joss-paper wishes in one of the iron cauldrons will do a great deal to renew my mood. As it stands, it’s a matter of one small day at a time, struggling against the larger currents. Not borne ceaselessly into the past, Gatsby old sport, it’s more “being swept slo-mo towards deeper disaster.”

Or maybe it’s just the wind making me tetchy. As soon as the caffeine sinks in I’ll be able to tell. Between the gusts and the fact of Monday, no wonder I’m in a Mood.

Ah well. I’m strapped into the ride, after all, and can’t do much about where the tracks are heading. All that’s possible is caring for the other people in the gondola, to the best of one’s ability. The dogs, of course, have absolutely no use for my philosophizing. They want walkies now, and aren’t shy about expressing as much.

Happy Monday, my beloveds. We’re all in this together, wherever it’s wending, and that will have to be enough.