Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ruminations on a cold January morning

It is cold. Very cold, outside.

I am awake earlier than normal. I sit at my window looking out at the cold and am grateful for the warmth inside. I sit at my desk wrapped up in a sweater, a blanket around my legs to keep myself warm. I'm trying to keep the heat down -- the city has been experiencing skyrocketing power usage with records being broken daily, but the furnace is working overtime just to keep the temperature a couple of degrees below normal. Every degree makes a difference so I keep my thermostat lowered slightly.

Baby it's cold outside.

Which won't stop the birds in my backyard from flocking around the feeder, scrambling for food when the sun gets up.

It is 5am and a man just walked past my window, walking with his dog. Did I mention it is cold outside? There is something sad about his figure. Head hidden beneath a fur-trimmed hood, shoulders hunched, dog walking many steps behind, long leash extended. The man plods when he walks. Each foot firmly planted one in front of the other. Heavy steps. Heavy body. Aged. I wonder if he lives on my street. I wonder if he lives alone. If his wife has died and the dog his only company. I wonder if he walks at 5 am because, like me, he has awoken early and cannot get back to sleep and while I have a computer to come and visit, he has no other way to get a different view on life than to plod along the street with his dog.

Baby it's cold outside.

And I realize, I don't know my neighbours. What if something goes wrong? C.C. is away. I am alone in the house with just Ellie, the wonder pooch, Marley, the Great Cat and Harry, Sally and Sue, the fish. Other than the wonderful companionship they provide, what help would they be in an emergency?

I've never thought about this before. Never considered the 'what if's' of what could happen if..., except last night I discovered my kitchen sink is plugged. Draino hasn't cleared it. I'll have to call a plumber. And I wonder if the pipes are frozen. Should I put a heater under the sink to warm them up? I check downstairs. No water leaking out anywhere.

And I wonder if the pipes are frozen.

Baby it's cold outside.

And it snowed again last night. I'll have to shovel the walk this morning. Fill the birdfeeder. A garbage truck goes rumbling by and I remember today is pickup day. I must put the garbage and recycling out. One good thing about the cold. The grass doesn't grow and won't need cutting until spring, weeds won't need pulling and the garden won't need pruning.

The paper just arrived. The delivery man pulls up in his jeep, leaves the engine running. Jumps out and heads to my door, his arms filled with newspapers. He is bundled up, but getting in and out of a vehicle must be uncomfortable. After our house he heads next door. There are three more papers in his arms to deliver.

And I wonder who my neighbours are. Must remedy my lack of awareness.

I wonder if after paper delivery the man in the jeep goes home, helps his wife get the kids ready for school and then they both head off to their fulltime day jobs. I wonder how many children he has. Did he immigrate here from somewhere else? Is he a doctor in his homeland?  Or perhaps, he's a writer and delivering the paper is how he supports his craft. He drives away and his story leaves with him. Maybe tomorrow...

Baby it's cold outside.

When I was a young girl of five or six, we lived in Calgary for a couple of years. My brother had a paper route and when it was really, really cold, I did the deliveries. I didn't mind the cold. I'd load the papers in my sled and trudge on down the road. I remember the lady in a blue house with a long drive and lots of trees in her yard. She used to give me hot cocoa. Back then, kids had paper routes because the paper wasn't delivered until end of day after school was out and before husbands came home.

I remember my father coming home from work, pouring a scotch and sitting in his big easy chair to read the paper while mom made dinner in the kitchen and we four kids tried to not fight while doing our homework. That's what fathers and mothers and kids did back then.

Times change. News is immediate and newspapers scramble to be ahead of the times, getting their paper copies to doors of households where mothers and fathers rise early to get children off to school before going off to their own work.  Little time for sitting with a scotch to read the paper after work. Little need. The news has already been told by then. It's already happened.

Have you heard the news? Baby, it's still cold outside.

But in case you haven't heard the news. It's -27C -- that's -17 south of the border. And that doesn't include the windchill.


Jennifer Richardson said...

cold and shivering for you.
and pondering
...think I'll check in on some
neighbors today.
my heart always goes
all soft and swimmy
as I read your words.
thanks for another beautiful share,

S. Etole said...

and I just read it's heading this way! Keep warm.

Megan Willome said...

Well, I've never experienced cold like that, but I do walk my dogs around 5 every morning. Just us and the moon.

Louise Gallagher said...

Thanks Jennifer -- when I visit your place I love the flowers and greenery on display!

And thank you for visiting your neighbours.

Louise Gallagher said...

Susan -- I'll see if I can warm it up before it gets there!

Louise Gallagher said...

Lovely -- to be just you and the moon and the dogs.... but not at -30C. LOL -- it feels so much colder in the dark!

Fi said...

Can't even begin to imagine cold like that especially as we swelter in my part of the world and have the pressure on our power supply because of cooling needs not warming needs.

Stay warm and toasty my friend and make sure you get out and meet those neighbours :-)

Louise Gallagher said...

Amazing isn't it how two such opposites can exist at one time -- but then, that is life isn't it Fi?

I will stay warm. Hope you stay cool. And I will get out and meet those neighbours.... when it warms up :)

Anonymous said...

ohhhh, baby! that is cold!