The Illustration Friday word of the week is savour.
It felt like a scene from Margot Zemach’s classic retelling of a Yiddish folktale, It Could Always Be Worse… that one where the rabbi says to the crazed man, “Ok, now take the chickens, goat, dog, cat, cow and geese out of your house.” Suddenly the man’s tiny home is blissfully spacious and peaceful, even still living with his mother-in-law, wife and multiple children.
Here, Thanksgiving morning was grim. The sun was finally shining in a cobalt blue blue sky, but it was the fifth day without power after winter’s gift of heavy snow, record low temperatures and power outages for 7,000 homes. But mid-morning brought a beautiful sight: blue PG&E trucks loaded with crews, rolling up the icy road like calvary come with colors flying. Within an hour they had removed fallen trees, downed wires and restored power.
I don’t think I have ever been so happy to clean toilets (previously flushed with melted snow), vacuum rugs and wash floors (covered with firewood debris), empty the refrigerator (rotten food, puddles of water, bowls of snow), do laundry (don’t ask) and take long, hot showers (for bodies that were beginning to have a distinct savour.) I was dancing around singing the words of Fred Astaire’s tune, Cheek to Cheek. “Heaven, I’m in heaven…and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak…”
While the power was out, I had to continually remind myself that my home was warm and dry with plenty of firewood, candles, groceries and a wood stove to heat water (bottled) on, and that I had a vehicle (and a husband ok with winter driving) and reasonably clear roads (after the second day) to get us to the library (for internet service) and the market. The long, cloudy days without the ability to be in our studios (no heat or lights), no evening movies to look forward to, no running water and the need to not move too far from the only room with heat, grated on our already-frazzled nerves. Yet I–even in the midst of that–had so much more than many folks, and, as the much-used adage goes, “I had my health.” I told my churlish self to be quiet.
Now that I am calmer, can get back into my studio, read emails at home, and watch an evening movie, I recognize (Thank you for the reminder, Mr. Weather.) that my life was always rich. And that weather is just, well, weather. (And another lesson in surrender.)
“No Recipe, II” (watercolor, pen & ink, colored pencil) “A bit of mouse might be nice…”