Wednesday, February 10, 2010


A hefty pile of snow stands three feet from the side of my piano.  If not separated by a wall of windows, I could easily step from the pile onto the piano.  This is why we built the deck so "a Mack Truck could drive across it," to quote an engineer friend.  The architect I asked to review my plans had insisted, "Build it for the biggest snowfall you can imagine and for that instant at a graduation party when everyone rushes to the guy yelling 'Come over here, you've got to see this!'"

Up to ten inches of snow rest on the railing, forming an ant's ski slope under our neglected bird feeder.  I should call it a squirrel feeder to explain why it has been neglected, but I don't suppose that would help some of you squirrel watchers.  While I may enjoy their antics from time to time, I refuse to encourage their approach to anywhere I don't want them chewing.  Neighbors in North Carolina spent several thousand dollars repairing squirrel damage to their attic and soffits.

Twenty-one locust posts, rustic, sometimes crooked, support the railing.  Two of them extend a couple feet above it and today they wear caps, like major-domos not fighting over who's in charge.  A couple tiki torches pose like toy soldiers in straitjackets, our bow to kitsch and mosquitoes.

"I miss the mosquitoes," says Virginia.  "Just think, in three months or less we could be sitting here in shorts."

I say, "And the rhododendron leaves, instead of curling into clumps like steamed spinach, will again be thick and shiny."

"Resilience," says Virginia.

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