Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter Woke Me Up

The moments before I went to Southeast Asia last winter stretched into long hours and days. I stared at computer screens, clocks, and calendars while I was counting down. And I wasted time and money, wearing tights of winter hues, at the fancy bar down the street.

I have not even been to that bar this winter and I have read only a few blogs on Malaysia, my next destination. All I really want to do is this:
Somehow every moment of my life has been filled with obligations of sorts. Obligations like dinners, lunches, cleaning for dinner guests, driving (those with injuries that prevents them from driving) to the doctor, preparing Christmas crafts, songs, and parties, coughing up phlegm, staring at myself in the mirror because something really gross was happening with my eye earlier this week, and reading A People's History of the United States.

I have been drafting something, in my head, really intelligent to say about that book. But without pressures from Jeff or Jim I have no motivation. I will say that Howard Zinn's historical account of the United States is one the most life changing books I have ever picked up. I question if early American History should even be taught in primary schools. The reality of it is far too traumatic for elementary age students. The book is bringing back memories of learning American history in school and how severely that history was romanticized.

A new book is one of the many reasons I love Japan in the winter. Books, movies, and the nest I have created to keep warm.
I recently bought a hot water bottle to put in the bottom of my bed to warm it up and I got a late birthday gift this evening of a fleece thing to wrap around my waist, under many other layers, for the winter.

Last winter I felt as if Japan was unprepared for the cold with their lack of insulations. This winter I have begun to understand all the cold weather intricacies that exist in this country, which has awoken a new love for the season.

But, I will be pleased to put this season on pause for 22 consecutive days.
On December 20th I will fly to Singapore.
December 21st Kota Kinabalu
On the 28th and 29th I will climb Mt. Kinabalu
January 1st to Bali
January 8th to Singapore
And back to Japan on January 10th.

As seasons are merging in my life winter feels like a beginning and summer reminds me laze.
Philip Larkin describes that twist best in his poetry:
Cut Grass

Cut grass lies frail:
Brief is the breath
Mown stalks exhale.
Long, long the death.

It dies in white hours
Of young-leafed June
With chestnut flowers,
With hedges snowlike strewn,

White lilac bowed,
Lost lanes of Queen Anne's lace,
And that high-builded cloud
Moving at summer's pace.

It is another holiday season of feeling blessed as I carry on in a country with little holiday pressure and I am about to take on a dream fantasy adventure in a new part of the world. And I will not be turning on my computer or driving my car for a while and that is the best gift I could get this time of year.
Until then I am going to fall asleep while watching Center Stage for the second time this week.

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