Thursday, January 15

Kickin' Chunks

Kickin' chunks. Ice chunks, that is, the frozen chunks of slushy mush that build up on your car's mud flaps. Kicking chunks of ice off the mud flaps is one of my winter amusements.

To pass the long winter, I've become an urban phenologist, keeping track of winter's progression: "firsts" such as the first day the sun sets after 4:30, and the conversational slide from "we need the moisture" to "isn't the snow beautiful" to "My God, will winter never end!" When I rang the Salvation Army bell this Christmas, I was able to track the progressive addition of layers, ending up with three pairs of socks, long underwear and pants, a shirt and two sweaters, coat, fleece-lined ear-covering hat, 6' scarf, liner gloves, mittens, and choppers, and three layers of cardboard (to stand on)!

Today I have a new entry in my phenology list:

it's too cold to kick the snow off the flaps! It's frozen solid!

It's -20 degrees, a great day to reread Shackleton's Endurance, Jack London's short stories, or Robert Service's tall tales of the Yukon. Click to read my booklist in Hennepin County Library's Bookspace.

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Robert Service

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