It’s just a peculiar winter.
I was out jogging last night, after dark, down Revolutionary roads. Past signs for Indian footpaths that are now named after colonists. Houses from 17– that have cable internet. They glowed, the warmth of density. In years past the glow might pull up a chair on the Massachusetts snow-drifts, out in front of windows, to spend a few hours. But our lawns are without snow and our light wanders on.
The ponds are fully melted. Weeks back they’d have still held a little capacity to be a cautionary tale. A family fell through the ice over on Spy Pond, and thank God they were saved and pulled out and maybe a little shook up but they were a much smaller line in the paper than they might’ve been. But nobody’s momma needs tell them that they’ll fall through the ice. There is none.
Imagine that. There’s a little fella. He lives right by Metonomy Pond, up the hill, smack in the middle of a Courier & Ives postcard. When it snows it is silent and when it is silent it is good. He got a hockey stick for Christmas. He got his older brother’s skates sharpened and he is looking out his window and has his shovel ready to move the snow off the ice, ready to make a rectangle in the otherwise crude shape, ready to go out and get to it and imagine the cheers – the cheers that will cut through that postcard.
But there’s no playing surface. Prolly won’t be one this year.
It’s like having boys down in Oxford, who imagine they’ll be the next 18 or 22, going in search of an open pitch for tackle football, but they can’t find anything but chained parking lots. No matter how good the next weather forecast is, they keep turning up concrete. And this is backyard tackle football we’re talking. Which isn’t going to happen on the blacktop in front of the Handy-Andy.
It’s that dream of showing up for a test. Everyone else is nervously chewing their nails, tapping on desks, reading and solving the greatest problems of our time. Growing. Changing. And I keep looking for a pencil. My tray is empty, and everyone else is using theirs. I just need one. The clock is ticking. People are finishing and the couples are pairing off and the boys who’re done with their tests sure look better to the girls who are almost finished. I haven’t started and I can see my future, empty, alone, with failing grades.
It’s just. One. #2. Pencil. Sharpened.
My heart goes out to ‘em. They’d care more about football if they’d never stepped on the ice. They’d be hunters if they weren’t up early, watching ESPN highlights of the Bruins. They’d take up baseball if they hadn’t left so much blood out there one the ice. The blood that is now mixed with the water.
The water that this year, it seems, will remain just that.