The cold.

January 26, 2014 § 8 Comments

Winter road.

Daylight hours were dwindling, stingy,

winter about to clench its grey fist around us,

so we bought a step van from a man who’d planned to

convert it to an ice cream truck, but found it

too wide for Baltimore alleys.

Into it we put: one dog, brown and plain

One daughter, not yet two

a household bare minimum, but no:

winter coats, mittens, wooly hats

and we headed south.

When we reached the Keys we

turned the engine off,

searched out a wooden boat

sufficiently derelict for our budget and found,

a Colonial, built in New Jersey. Just like me.

For fifteen years we went sleeveless,

daubed sunscreen, jumped off the dock

into skin-temperature water,

hummed Margaritaville.

Afloat in the Gulf, nighttime temperatures

dropped rarely more than five degrees.

We lived and slept torpid in an envelope of heat.

Languid, drowsy, desultory.

In need of a slap of cold air,

of vigor, of rigor, of wide-awake ambition,

we loaded the van with just enough to start again.

And drove north, but stopped where

tropical and temperate wrestle

for control of the seasons.

That first winter we were thrilled

when the birdbath froze.

Ice—what a novelty.

Deciding to stay, we bought.

Installed fans to cool, a wood stove to heat.

A no-joke winter now grips the east coast.

Ray cuts wood every day to feed the stove

wondering if there will be enough

to last out

the cold, the cold, the cold.

But even as cold gnaws the bone of this winter day

I start the first seeds for the summer garden

and the balance is right

of hot and cold

of dark and light.

This is home.

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§ 8 Responses to The cold.

  • craig reeder says:

    i don’t think any of us who are living here in Tallahassee, and watching the winter blizzards on TV, would disagree with you. This is the goldilocks spot. Not too hot, not too cold…………..and it’s home.
    Beautiful poetry, by the way!


  • KM Huber says:

    Lovely, Adrian. I can see all of you in your winters and your moves as well as the winter that is now. As Craig says, Tallahasseeans are faring better than others in this winter that seems content to linger. On this frosty morning, I warm to your seed starting. As you say, the balance is right.


  • Lovely. I love all your entries.
    But it’s not too bad here in the Gainesville area. The loquats have set fruit and the freezes haven’t seemed to affected them yet.


  • Thank you for writing this adventure seekers’ tale as a poem.
    All your writing has a lyricism that says “chapbook” to me.

    This is the sweet (tupelo sweet) spot. Just don’t let everyone know too, too often because you write with such eloquence that I can feel suitcases being pulled out from under beds, if any snowbound folks stop by for a slow dance at your journal.

    Thank you for this lovely story. I didn’t know how the beginning of your road began & I love the trail brought you here. Lucky me! LUcky us!


  • Sheila Merlau says:

    I Iove our Tallahassee winters. I think I would like more winter, but like you, our roots are set. It seems to me the dogwoods wave “merry Christmas” in December as their leaves, some still green but others flaming red hang on till the new year. I like seeing treasures not visible in the brief time our eternal green doesn’t hide them. We’re never too brown, like Wisconsin.
    Like your prose, your poetry paints vivid pictures and provokes thought.
    So glad you danced into my life.


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