Free Write (writing, winter, spring)


Lottery balls, these thoughts, grabbed out of midair and transferred through fingers & ink, finding a home on this blue-lined, yellow legal pad.  A snapshot of my mind.

In college I was forced to take a class called Composition I, which I wasn’t hugely fond of, although my professor was an unusual man – not totally strange, though, just enough to make me think that he loved what he did – and he made bearable and even halfway enjoyable what would have otherwise been a painfully boring class.  I remember the classroom well because it was at the top of an ancient brick building called “Founder’s Hall,” so-named because it’s been around (I think?) since the college began in the late 1800’s.  It was Winter quarter, too, and the cold wind blew noisily not just around the building but also made its way through cracks and old window sills, finding an unwelcome abode in my thinly-protected bones.  Luckily for the females this was the one quarter they were permitted to wear pants.

Garbage is what he called them.  Pure garbage (a strange two-word combination, no?).  I didn’t like hearing it then and I don’t like thinking about it now, but I am finding it to be true.  Workable garbage, though, right?  Moldable garbage, if there was such a thing.  At least it’s a first step, but I suppose that’s all it is, which is why it is so-named.  Garbage, first drafts, pure garbage.

I want to do things that I actually don’t want to do, but since I would like it if someone else did it, I’ll do it.  Like wearing a Santa hat.  For some reason they’re usually itchy, more so than a normal head covering, but still I want to wear one to the grocery store in mid-to-late December because when I see a Santa hat on somebody else it usually makes me smile.  Why not give somebody – or several somebody’s – the chance to smile at the Santa hat on my own head?  I can deal with the itchiness for a while; it seems like a worthy trade in my book.  December is usually cold and dark anyway, so why not brighten things up a bit?

Cold and dark, cold and dark.  These two demons used to team up for a nasty one-two punch for a few months every year.  Even in high school they depressed me, these two evils.  I can handle the dark.  Dark and warm, no problem.  A slow walk through the soft grass underneath the stars on an early June night?  No problem.  Enjoyable, even.  But a frigid walk through dirty snow from the car to an empty house – or even worse, from the car to a parent-teacher meeting at school – at 8:00 PM on a dismal Tuesday in January?  Depressing.  Ugh, so depressing.

But then Spring marched in with signs of life.  December dealt death while March meant mirth.  When the snow began to melt and the sun hung around more and more every day, and the smell – oh the smell!  Yes, I could actually smell Springtime pushing its way in – I started to thaw with the ground.  She arrived slowly, slowly, like a train just commencing a long journey.  It was still dark by 6:00 in March, but it didn’t matter because the demons were dying.  It was only a matter of time before the angel of April swept in, clothed in bright mornings and warm evenings, to rescue us from the evil twins.  Begone, brother one!  Begone, brother two!  You’ve reigned long enough.  Go away and never come back.  At least not until November.


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