Friday, January 8, 2010

Moon of Popping Trees

"The days are short,
   the sun is a spark               
 Hung thin between
 the dark and dark."       

Native Americans called January the Month of Popping Trees. I call it the Month of Wiping Out. In the kitchen it is a month of wiping out withered potatoes from the pantry, wrinkled celery from the crisper, and using up those half packages of cream cheese left from Christmas. From some deep shelf in the freezer, we consume the last loaf of pumpkin bread made from this year’s Halloween pumpkins.

Ragged clothes are sorted and cut into shop rags. Run over and leather-worn shoes are used up in the wet snow for a couple of weeks and then pitched into the trash can with no laments. January sales might bring in new towels and sheets, but old ones are tossed out for sure.

The last of those half-squeezed tubes of lotions, failed nail colors, and dated medicines are flung to the waste basket with no feeling of waste. Notebooks with only a handful of unmarked pages are lobbed in File 13. Any poinsettias that look more like a naked winter branch than thriving plant are chucked to the dumpster.

Normally, I have a writing and reading list to conquer, to wipe out, but this year’s the extreme cold has made me lethargic. I don’t feel very creative; my mind wanders like a snow plow roaring down the street pushing new ideas to the gutter. Even reading, my attention span rambles more than normal, thinking more about cold toes and fingers than the story in my hands. Last night’s wind chill here was -15, the coldest record in the last 25 years.

A final wiping out the last bits of loose tea in all the nearly empty tins takes place this month. The late mornings, the loitering in jammies and heavy flannel robes, lingering over whopping breakfasts with the copious amounts of hot tea make for leisurely use of many tea pots. With no hurry to the day, the procedure of choosing, warming, and brewing in varied pots is a treat. I use the Christmas reds a few extra times before they are put away, or I pull out the Blue Willows and other blue and whites. A large Brown Betty under a tea cozy means tea for breakfast and some still warm for a later cup. After several days of a snow blanket and frigid temps, when we think we can stand it no longer, I pop out a lively pastel or floral tea pot to remind us that the spring will come.

As we wipe out the food supplies here, face the extra hard cold spell, and tolerate the long confinement with little exercise but plenty of comfort food, the Month of Popping Trees might become the Month of Popping Buttons this year.

1 comment:

BECKY said...

Claudia, I loved this! I can visualize everything so completely! Lovely!