Friday, February 5, 2016

February 5: Mosquitos, Parking Slush, Change

You might think the Eskimos would welcome the spring and the coming of summer; they did, but they looked forward more to the coming of winter.  I'm talking as usual about the various Eskimo cultures as they were before modernization.  Some Eskimos used to greet the sun on its first appearance at the horizon in stunned silence, and with raised arms.  But in summer, they well knew they would have to eat lean fish and birds.  Winter's snow would melt to water and soak the thin thawed ground down to permafrost; the water couldn't drain away, and it would turn the earth into a sop of puddles.  Then the mosquitos would come, frenzy so that they trampled their newborn calves, the famous arctic mosquitos of which it is said, "If there were any more of them, they'd have to be smaller."

Annie Dillard is greeting the coming of spring and summer.  At Tinker Creek, the trees are leafing up, sap is flowing, and birds are churning the air with song.  In short, Tinker Creek is the exact opposite of the Upper Peninsula.  The Eskimos may dread the rising sun and melting ground, but I'll take moose-killing mosquitos over blizzards any day.  I don't have to shovel mosquitos; I just have to spray myself with Deep Woods Off.

Today was warm for February in the U. P.  When I stepped outside after work, I didn't have to brace myself against a steely wind.  In fact, I swear I could almost smell something like thaw in the air.  It wasn't exactly mud or permafrost or a sop of puddles.  It was warmth (and, when I say warmth, I mean about 25 degrees).  The parking lot was actually parking slush.

No, I am not going to spend this entire post debating the pros and cons of winter versus summer.  My point, tonight, is about those Eskimos and how they greet the change of seasons with stunned silence and raised arms.  I greet most change in my life like that.  I know that change is inevitable, like winter storms and spring thaws.  However, change hasn't been a friend in my life these last few years.

Let me give you some examples:
  • Two of my siblings have died in the past two years.  Bad.
  • I had to leave a job that I held for 17 years.  Bad.
  • Due to budget cuts at the university, many of my contingent colleagues have lost their teaching positions.  Bad.
  • My daughter is in high school. Depressing and bad.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.  Change is my swarm of mosquitos, driving me into a frenzy.  I'm sitting here, thinking, "If there were any more of them, they'd have to be smaller."  Okay, that doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, but I think the sentiment comes through.

Yes, Saint Marty is bitching about change once again.  It's his monthly rant.

Change works for some people . . .

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