It’s a snow day here today, and the kiddo is home with me. I think I root for snow days even more than she does. I was thinking of the landscapes in which I’ve lived, and how they influence people. Where I am now is the closest in landscape and climate to home than anywhere else I’ve lived. Except the people are nicer here, I think.

If I had to choose the defining characteristic of the land of my childhood, I’d cite the Black River off the top of my head. But I’d be wrong. I’m just fascinated with it. It is indeed a dark river, with a touch of menace to it. Its mysterious undercurrents have caused drownings. I think it’s a lousy fishing spot, but my brother Will and I, when we were young and naive, thought living down by the river, surviving off of the land, to be preferable to living in our big grey house. We’d stash away food and gear, make plans, and read survival manuals to prepare. Our mother would find our stash and take it away. We’d just find another spot. But we never made the move. I don’t know how we thought we’d get away with something like that, anyway. But I’ve always had a deep desire to live in a very basic way, surrounded by the landscape I love, self reliantly.

Our grandfather often took us to the river in the spring, where we’d stalk the great Northern Pike. We were obsessed with that fish, only because of its size and strength. I don’t even eat fish. I never caught a pike. I’ve only caught one fish in my entire life; a rainbow trout on my first try. Will was crushed. He hadn’t at the time, even caught one fish. I didn’t know what to do with it, but I enjoyed the fight. Fishing is purely sport for me. Will eventually did catch a pike, but I don’t think it was in that river….might have been the St. Lawrence. He’s a good fisherman, and luckily for me, kind. He baited all of my hooks.

The defining characteristic of the north country in NY is of course, the snowbelt. Massive amounts of snow. Arctic temperatures. My family is from New England, originally, and moved to Tug Hill when they came to New York. The summer was beautiful. Mild. Great scenery. It was just the sort of place that my grandfather, a naturalist and artist, loved. Luckily, they took heed of the warnings of harsh, deadly winters and moved just in time, before they either  starved or froze to death. The snow and its unpredictable nature is why I only visit New York during the window of late spring and summer. I don’t like to drive, and my vision is bad enough without whiteouts. But I still love the landscapes of my childhood.

In Connecticut, it’s all about ice. It’s even more powerful and damaging than snow, which dumps itself and is simply shifted around. The ice slicks up the roads, and even worse, attaches itself to trees, where it weights down vulnerable limbs and takes down power lines when they fall. When I was about eight months pregnant with the kiddo, I spent a week without power, bundled in blankets by a fire place. Everyone else was concerned, but it felt so peaceful. I think there’s just something about being pregnant that makes everyone around you treat you like a sacred cow. Or something.

Today, I’m just grateful that I’m warm inside, beside a beautiful Christmas tree with my kiddo. Take care and stay warm, peeps.


2 Responses to “landscapes”

  1. 2 petitmuse December 10, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    thanks, Kathy. It’s good to see you on Facebook!

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December 2009
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