Tuesday September 02, 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

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Braving the coldest day

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On the final day of February, my oldest daughter moved with most of her things.

The rest she left littered all over her bedroom. When I opened the door, they screamed: “I was here, but no longer. Deal with it.”

Then I left too, driving my car (fresh from the shop) and sick laptop computer to town for a new monitor. Arriving, I discovered the repair store where I’d purchased it had gone out of business. Impermanence crystallized in my consciousness.

Three vehicles in the space of a few weeks have broken down here, too. But the sun’s still working, right? We had to brace for a -38 C low, with wind-chills in the -50s. The sun works, just not as well as this Arctic high.

When things break, they cost us not just money; which can be tough enough when the bills come all at once, but time and frustration, too. Producers hoping to ship grain in Canada’s frozen grain-handling system understand this well.

Without a computer, I use Farmer’s old desktop. It’s hardly Stonehenge since the ancient stones, though mysterious to us, are likely a more advanced technology that we can appreciate. All things mysterious about Farmer’s computer include its dysfunctional mouseb and waiting that eternity for the system to load.

Princess put all the homemade paper hearts away in our decoration bench, and took out old St. Patrick’s Day supplies. Then she decorated a newspaper crown with green crayon jewels and called herself Princess of the Green. That lifted me.

Oh for green across the frozen tundra of our lives: green for the huddled cows, and green while this farmhouse snaps oddly against the constricting temperatures. Green would fix us.

I have this dream of growing fresh food all year around here in the hills. For years I’ve kept it alive by reading about solar greenhouse structures, sustainable energy and bio-domes. Could I build a structure that allowed solar gain but kept the cold out?

It took years for me to commit to purchasing supplies to finally build such a structure; now the coldest winter arrives at the same time. Lion or lamb, we begged the sky for spring last year, too, and enjoyed a wonderful growing season thereafter.

The coldest day is either a new all-time low or a point at which we begin to feel a shift in the opposite direction.

 


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