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A Woman's Journal


And come from out the cold and gloom

By Maggie Turner

November 16, 1999

And come from out the cold and gloom

3:21 p.m. Some days I consider running away from home. It would be nice to leave for a while and pretend that I am a self-absorbed artist. It would be lovely to sit alone in cafes, drink coffee and write. I would take a room in the city and frequent open stages and "pay what you can" theater.

I would rent a room in the city. The room would have only a bed, a desk, a computer, a hot plate and a refrigerator. The door would lock behind me. The view from the window would include traffic, both four-wheeled and pedestrian.

I would not entertain. I would wander during the day, stopping to drink coffee and occasionally eat a bagel. I would rise early in the morning and write. I would spend time in libraries. I would sleep in the late afternoon. I would frequent bars and cafes at night. I would talk and listen and laugh with intimate strangers.

As I sit looking out at the familiar trees outside my window I know that this fantasy of escape will not bring me the contentment I seek. My mug sits steaming beside me as I contemplate the warm and welcoming space that Attila and I have created in our life together. Soon he will arrive bearing some treasure he has discovered at a discount grocery. We will be interested in how the other has spent the day and will be glad of one another. In reality I would not leave this life, this place, willingly.

My life has seen terror and loneliness, loss and pain. If one must suffer to be an artist my creative force has been fed for many lifetimes to come. That I find myself in an island of comfort is a miracle and a blessing. It is not for me to curse the gods.

 tree trunks

5:00 p.m. The skies are gray steel. The wind is bitter cold and rattles the windows. The leaves have all escaped the trees to find their earthly rest. Gone are the greens, the yellows and the reds of the fall garden. Frost has shriveled the climbing morning glories; the brown wizened leaves jerk in the wind. The absence of color is the most difficult aspect of the approaching northern winter.

My solution to the lack of color in the environment is to add my own. This project is aided and abetted by the advent of the Christmas season. Every year this season seems to start earlier as business attempts to lengthen the season and increase sales. I'm not complaining, as it is now safe to decorate the yard for Christmas while cleaning up the Halloween pumpkin. It is a seamless transition from one colorful event to the other.

We erect multicolor outdoor lights as soon as possible in the fall and leave them up until February. Each evening just as daylight begins to fail the front of our house twinkles blue, red, yellow and green. This display will greet Attila and I every evening as we make our separate ways home in the dark. To our delight our elderly neighbor living across the street has also taken to displaying lights in the evening. The cold winter nights are much warmer for such shared whimsy. We have noticed that an increasing number of houses in The Neighborhood are dressing for the occasion.


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