Clearly Clear

The most fearless among the fearless are the workers that brave conditions which make our primal–often most private fears–come to surface.

The professionals who clean the windows of tall buildings are a good example of the breed.

To think they’re suspended in place with nothing but a saddle harness, a rope connected to that saddle, and the rope routed typically through a figure-8 or other type of belaying device. And where that rope is anchored on the roof is a mystery to me.

Not surprising, but always impressive, the windows are wonderfully clean and clear.

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Off the grid

One of the spoils, the pleasures if you will, of being close to the ocean is that during the off-season, everything feels quieter….


…unhurried…


…introspective…

…unspoiled…

…undisturbed…

…calm…


…spacious.

Wandering towards warmth

It’s at this time of year when I hear longings for warmer weather. From workers in the office building–a lot while in the elevator–to family and friends, I hear wanting cries and wishes for winter to end. February is akin to that last push toward a finish line; it’s a test of emotional endurance because you’ve made it this far yet there’s still a distance to go. When will this end? Let’s finish winter and get on with spring. Polar vortex aside, I’m still enjoying winter. However with daylight piling on, it’s not difficult to think about spring.

In no uncertain terms, sunny, warmer weather puts people in a better mood, especially during those first few days. What’s not to like? You get more vitamin D. The air feels gentler. The sky appears friendlier. The pace of life is calmer. The sounds and sights of life are no longer insulated: laughter, more people outdoors, car windows open, music escapes from said windows, smiles appear from once stoic, resigned faces and of course, fashion turns lighter as puffy, padded, heavy and scratchy attire is relegated to dry cleaning, the cedar chest or some other domestic sarcophagus to be opened later in the year.

Many of us in New England are already wandering toward and wondering about the warmth. For now, we can still huddle in our coats, don an extra layer, warm ourselves with a mug of Hot Toddy and make the best of things next to the fireplace or wood stove.

North

A few days ago, the cold felt punishing. Yes, I have preference for cold versus hot days, but when the air is already cold at zero degrees Fahrenheit, then enhanced with a windchill of -15, well, that may be enough to reconsider that preference.

I’m fortunate that I can retreat to places where the cold and wind don’t feel as threatening. From the safety of these retreats, I philosophize on the dual sides of nature, of how something that can appear simple and beautiful and minimal can deliver a reality check powerful enough to humble any aesthete caught up in winter’s vanity.

Do you get the feeling that winter provides a sense of calm? The calm I speak of provides a level of reassurance. This winter calm is a metaphorical blanket, one which acts like a shield from unwelcome and sometimes sudden vicissitudes. Such a blanket stops–albeit briefly–the weariness of having to deal with things that keep us from finding a particular quiet.

And when the quiet is welcoming, the alone time is curative…

Future tense within the present

In the past several months one expression seems to echo in my comings and goings and it goes something like, “…well, there’s 10-minutes I’ll never get back…”

Typically it has an air of regret, of time spent that could’ve been used in a different or better way.

Let me shift the lens or the perspective a bit and instead say, “….the next 10-minutes has got be better than the previous ten…”