The Snow Queen Cometh

Snow in the weather forecast, for next week! In fairy tale terms, the Snow Queen cometh.

And so we slip towards the dark days of winter, when Attila leaves before light, and returns home after dark. And me? I will spend my days with the trees and wind, only interacting with other humans in darkness, but for one day a week, for a stretch of about three months! I have grown to dislike winter! Beauty is not company enough.

But today, today there was enough light in the sky to allow me to see Attila as he drove off for the day. Rainclouds drifted across the sky, which darkened as the morning wandered on. The remaining leaves defied the dimming light, bright and shimmering in the gloom. Occasionally, the wind would blow the clouds away, revealing a brief and brilliant blue.

Our country view. Not a vista, but ever changing and fascinating.
Autumn maples DSCF3728
Our country view. Looking up into the oak tree, right outside my window.
Autumn wind DSCF3714

Without the sun to assist in keeping the house warm, the interior temperature is no longer comfortable. It is time to begin curing the masonry heater for the season. Every autumn I spend five days, slowly building small fires, every two hours, of increasing size, until all the moisture in the masonry heater has been released. Only then is it ready for a full burn. I will begin the curing process today. We can expect some heat by day four, but not much. Still, a little goes a long way at this time of year.

2013 The First Fire. Eight small pieces of dry kindling, which will eventually grow to fifty pounds of seasoned firewood , at one go.
2013 curing DSCF3695

We have not turned on the heat at the little house in the city, and will try to put that off until the last feasible moment. We heat it at 7C for the winter, as that is as low as the thermostat can be set. It keeps the damp out of the structure, and prevents the pipes from freezing. Because we only managed one winter visit after Christmas last year, this year we will be winterizing the plumbing at Christmas time, just in case the heating system fails during that long winter stretch from late December to late March.

Last weekend, although the temperature dipped towards freezing at night, at the little house in the city, the use of the oven to roast the turkey heated the house to a comfortable 20C! It is a tiny house!

I have been offered work next week, seven hours over a period of two days, but only 20 km from the country house. That will bring in a little bit of extra cash to help pay for the front step at the little house in the city!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

15°C
Date: 8:06 AM EDT Wednesday 16 October 2013
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Visibility: 13 km
Temperature: 15.1°C
Dewpoint: 14.5°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: SSW 11 km/h

Quote

“In the end, I have to conclude that… and I have a major difference of opinion about how the average person does good. Although I vote, I tend to believe that someone like me can’t really impact global, national, or even state policies, and if I want to make change, I have to start in my own life and lead by example. Schumacher, on the other hand, finds value in philosophizing about large-scale changes that would make the world a better place, so I assume he feels that he can actually take part in bringing those changes about.”

Anna

“finds value in philosophizing about large-scale changes that would make the world a better place, so I assume he feels that he can actually take part in bringing those changes about”

There is the rub, as far as I am concerned! I do not believe that working “within the system” towards change brings about anything but superficial and temporary changes; and successful careers for politicians, activists, and academics. Those changes can be briefly spectacular, but are soon swallowed up in apathy, or co-opted, and the machine grinds on as before. If anyone actually attempts to introduce long lasting change to the machine, they will be ejected from the system. The “glass ceiling” isn’t just there for women, it is there to prevent any lasting and positive change in human societies. That is what I have observed, with the politicians, activists, and academics I have known well. Some mean well, most are seeking some sort of personal “success”: but working within the machine does not bring lasting social change. Nor does violence, which is actually working within the machine in a specific way.

I am with Anna on this one, I too believe that one must start with their own life, to make positive change.

I think of the Mayans. The machine of their culture is gone, although monuments to that past hubris remain; the contemporary population still lives and thrives.

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4 Responses to The Snow Queen Cometh

  1. Bex says:

    Have to agree with you, but changing from within us one person at a time will take forever! There are too many people on Earth. There is a basic flaw in the human species – and it is ego. I believe all our troubles stem from ego morphing into greed. I don’t see ego in the animals – just in man(and woman)kind. It’s a shame that such a mistake was made.

  2. Maggie says:

    Bex, I think we, as a social entity, have forever.

    The ego certainly is working against the species at this point in time. I am not so sure though, that this was always the case with our species. After all, more history has been destroyed, distorted, and lost, than has been preserved. How we live in known history is a small blip on the timeline of human existence. In addition, the history we have preserved is a biased version. I see human greed/hubris as a social cancer, which is well established and growing out of control, to the detriment of healthy humans (or cells in this analogy). But I do not accept that things have to be the way they are, nor do I think things will always be this way. The meek shall inherit the earth resonates deeply. Not as a power/political/economic takeover, but as the weed-like, natural state of human social structures, which will slowly reemerge when the cancer of greed/hubris has destroyed the world as we know it. I do not think we can plan for survival as a species, it will just happen.

    I do believe that love and kindness are natural human traits, allowing us to survive against all odds. And in some form, in the distant future, those of us who have lived our lives based on those principals will be a part of what develops.

  3. Irene says:

    Our weather is crisping too… not like fried chicken – more like a freshly plucked apple. As much as I look forward to the shift in seasons, there are elements that are not as welcomed. My aging body is as good as any thermometer. I always get a bit blindsided each year when I’m puzzled by the appearance of new aches in my joints. My body has become a dependable harbinger.

    Regarding the abysmal state of our world economics… GAH! I’ve written this before that my sad observation is that too many many people consider kindness a weakness. It’s so disheartening.

  4. Maggie says:

    I agree Irene, too many people do consider kindness a weakness. As I told my three year old daughter, as we traversed inner city streets during her childhood, passing people who were not kindly disposed towards us, “Don’t make eye contact!” I follow my own advice when I encounter those who lack respect for kindness.