Sunday, December 2, 2007

the ghost of winter past

The snow fell last night, or rather, it swirled down out of the sky onto us. It laces the edges of spruce trees and transforms the landscape, so that instead of looking out onto a dreary gray November day, it's a December one, white and blue and green. The white makes all the difference. Thin patches of ice, a shade lighter than the steel-blue water, marble the surface of the bay. Making a cup of tea and sitting inside is cozier, because outside is suddenly covered in cold fluff. Cold fluff that requires gear, new gear, boots and mittens and coat and hat and scarf, before venturing out for anything.

For some reason, the snow looks like it's been there for a while, even though it just fell last night. All snow coverings are created equal? Or, when I look at the snow covering the ground, in between all the trees in the woods, do I see all the winters past? Do I generalize, combining the twenty-three winters I've lived, and stop looking for the little details of this particular winter, this particular moment?

I'd rather look and see exactly what is: the new snow, the blond grass by the roadside sticking up out of the snow, the crunchy slush on the road. And a lot of the time, I do see like that, seeing the snow of the moment rather than just "snowy woods". This year, winter is different for me. A lot of things are different, since my illness, since I have had to take time off and slow down. I have the time to look around, and I notice the weather more, the make-up of a day. And when a particular day is starting to feel routine, as if there is nothing that will distinguish it from the day before, I make myself do something different. Maybe I'll hike across a field that I've always liked looking at, and accidentally get my sneaker wet. Maybe I'll go peer, up close, at a patch of vibrant green moss on a tree. Maybe I'll make a meal I haven't made in a while, like chili with turtle beans I made from scratch.

Ironically, these are probably the kinds of impromptu, interesting things I did as a child, that made each day different, which blurred into "times past," that bank of memories from which, if I'm not careful, I will draw the woods of today.


I also wanted to mention a new site I have started frequenting. It is called I Love Typography, and it is addictive, pleasing to the eye, and very fun, at least if you're a type nerd like I have recently realized I am.

It's run by a guy who lives in Japan, originally from England, John Boardley. And there are plenty of readers, running the gamut from type designers like Erik Spiekermann and Jean Porchez, to complete type novices like myself. After every article, readers rush in to comment, and the conversations are quite long and varied. This site has only been up since August, and already it's quite popular (again, amongst the type-nerd set), which I think is attributable to the friendliness both of the host and of all the readers, the beauty of the page design, and of course, all that interesting stuff about typefaces.

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