North and west of here, the front reached my parent’s house in time for them to slip out of their house, work their way to the river for this early *morning* shot. When my alarm went off on my Blackberry, I noticed a new email from my folks. I wasn’t thinking of snow when I saw the photo, I was thinking more about the water — webbed feet under water. I got caught up in thinking what it might be like below the surface of the water while all around the river, snow was falling and the temperature was dropping. The geese and ducks seemed immune. (I’d like to have more of that.)
My parents, on the other hand, were thinking about the snow, warning me the front was just hours from reaching me. Off to work I drove. Mittens, parka, shovel, scraper. Another email came across my phone, this time from a friend sharing a Miss Lonelyhearts quote with me:
What goes on in the sea is of no interest to the rock.
That’s all his email said. Nothing more, and yet it was an entire gift of words to consider as my day wore through. Later, when temperatures dropped thirty-five degrees in thirty minutes and strong winds rattled the windows in my office, we had a short talk. I had turned on the heater by my feet, slipped into an extra sweater I keep hanging behind my office door. I might have snuck out to the lobby for a cup of hot cocoa, but was too cozy to move.
What were we talking about? Something about travel, and how I’d like to go out to the coast because it matters there when the tide comes in.
All this water talk. Listen, he said. Your talk of the tide is speaking back to the quote I sent.
I hadn’t realized this. When I read his quote, after studying my father’s photo, I’d had a flashback of another conversation some time ago: Something something twenty feet below. Not to be indifferent to what he was sharing, but all I could think about was getting home and finding that “twenty feet below” quote in a journal from that time long ago. Before I could do so, the front blew in. At home, I got the dogs in, battened down the hatches. The Blackberry chimed — this time with a winter hazard text alert.
Crap. I mean, crud! Everyone was safe at home except for my son who was working late. I did the mother thing — sent him drive safe good-will telepathic messages akin to the look both ways before you cross the street reminders every parent thinks keep their kidlins safe. Then I found my journals and started looking for that quote.
About the time I started thumbing through journal #3, my son arrived home, safe. But with a story to tell: icy overpass, 180 spins, backing down the overpass, zero visibility. So yeah. He was glowing from handling a series of near-hits on ice and I was the mother who aged three years listening to the story of how he almost died behind the wheel. (Mother’s License To Be Overly Fearful For Her Kidlins). He was perhaps overly confident. (Son’s License To Know All Ends Well No Matter What.)
Oy. Hot cocoas all around. (Chocolate soothes the worry-beast within. I am sure that is written in a journal as well.) Once the commotion of his story had passed through us, I flipped through three more pages and found the quote I couldn’t remember at the beginning of my day:
We can measure the ebb and the flow, but we can’t measure what’s twenty feet below the surface.
Ah yes. Webbed feet under water. Water water snow. Random random lack of connection.
And then this, immediately above the twenty-feet-below quote, a quote from my son a year ago in November: Mom! I am so close to good.
Final bit of random: the Arctic Front is here.