Cold Wind Whipping Down the Alley…

Nancy Flynn Neighborhood, Stream of Consciousness Archive

Photo by Burkhard Mücke

It’s not dawn but it’s a cold wind out there. The emperor gong hanging off our bedroom above the deck is getting a workout today.

I walked to and from the grocery store where certifiable madness is in progress: too many people with too-full carts, everybody in a frenzied rush around to get too many things and all at the last minute so the place is aisle after aisle of traffic jams and rudeness run amok. People are buying entire Thanksgiving feasts at the deli counter holding up others who simply want some Black Forest ham for sandwiches for tonight. People with out-of-control children who ride push carts into the way of other people simply trying to shop and get in and out. Don’t get me started on those stupid carts that are plastic toys that the little crysters (to quote our friend Richard) are allowed to pretend to drive.

A highlight of the visit to New Seasons was being able to buy 58 cents worth of fresh dill. Love the bulk herbs. I shopped quickly then loaded my old red backpack with as much as can fit—I eyeballed my purchases and luckily didn’t run out of room. Weight lifted onto my back and then off into the wind again, another 2.2 kilometers back home. The rest of the afternoon is now mine to relax, listen to the Bob, wait for J. to get home.

The galleys of The Hours of Us arrived with the mail today and I’ve already gone through the manuscript and sent the changes back to the editors at Finishing Line Press. Funny, reading those poems for the umpteenth time and they don’t even seem like mine. And I don’t seem like the same person now who wrote them what? a few little more than a year ago? Still a book—however humble, however tiny—is something, no small achievement and I am excited and proud. A big year for me, this 2007.

And this unusual late November sun is glorious even if the air has a chill. Even if the truck’s battery is dead and I’ve left it sitting until after the holiday to deal with it. Even if our far-flung families are staying far and flung for the holiday. Something about the mania that has grown to surround this time from Thanksgiving to Xmas seems so spoiled and decidedly American to me—must get, go, see, travel, be there, be home, do it big, do it right, overdo it, then pack it all up and turn around and go back home again. Maybe it’s a frenzy because many people have so little of quality in their day-to-day, too busy lives. So this time of year has become symbolic of the old-fashioned, the way life used to be and the way things used to be better. I don’t know. Seems to me it is all a choice. To avoid the shopping crowds on Friday. To stay put and save family reunions for times of the year when travel is less frenetic and subject to delays, and the weather is better, too. To accept where you are and what you have and scale way, way back. Maybe I’m the crazy one. Maybe I’m the one missing out.

Nancy Flynn
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