It’s said Old Age is meant to dissolve “earthly desires.” Here’s a short list of things not numbered among these desires: food, raiment (remember that word?), shelter, warmth. Kindness. Generosity. Friendship. Peace. Puppies. All these are not earthly desires, but eternal qualities, heaven’s grant.
Lately the Sun Journal’s daily issues include front-page stories about the mundane mishaps of Extreme Cold. Currently we experience in Maine nightly temps below 0°F.
Businesses we depend upon for domestic infrastructure are hardly keeping up with demands of cold-broken pipes, of heating units, fuel, and of car maintenance we may take for granted other times, such as tire pressure. Public infrastructure we depend on also breaks in these extremes.
Examples of the above: one man had to call the Senator’s office in order to get through to the fuel oil business rejecting his calls — where he’s been paying cash on time for fuel these past 41 years. Frozen pipes stop water flow, but also breaks that flood the basement. We heat upstairs with wood, but if propane runs out our basement heater will not come on to keep pipes at the needful 55°F. We saw a brilliant beauty image of an avenue in Scarborough flooded, and its intersection turned to water-ice from a broken watermain.
R. left to run errands in the village seven miles away. Snow is falling, roads are slick but I keep thinking of the article on tire pressure. The manager of one tire warehouse had 50 people show up with flat tires on Tuesday. Tires lose a pound of pressure for each 10 degree drop in temperature, according to the article written by Colin Ellis. And car sensors for tire pressure may not function because of sand and salt wearing away surface qualities. Our tire warehouse is 40 plus miles away.
Yesterday and today we have breaks from the extremes. Yes, temperatures are still well below freezing, but they are not in the minuses. Reports for tomorrow’s projection for our region — back to extremes!
Unless you are Dante or some other poet you may not think of extreme cold as eternal.
With eternal extreme cold in mind, here is my letter to editors of the Sun Journal:
We don’t subscribe, but get the Sun Journal every day at the store. My favorites are crosswords and comics, but the paper has everything, amazingly: national and local news, reportage on local and state government meetings, articles on the latest evil and good in our communities, and various engaging columns. Sports! (High school and otherwise.) All kinds of ads for everything and services you might need. And some of that weird (wicked wire) stuff we here don’t care for.
But I came across something really beautiful, so maybe I should add beautiful to the collection? It was Dana Wilde’s piece with both scientific and ancient-with-mythic take on the sun, “Tracking the sun amid shades of December.” (December 28.) Thoughtful, scientific and creative, full of both meaning and fact with the beautiful human/sun image above. He says the ancient popular view of the sun was a “way of talking about it [telling] a story…that sense of strangeness and awe…. It was a sign of your own place in eternity. Where you too would return.”