Friday, January 29, 2010
Bitter cold, the weatherman said about today, and by the sound of that wind out there, howling through the cracks, I can imagine why. It's a Shingebiss wind, like the North wind that bedeviled the plucky little merganser in the Ojibwe tale that's set in the winter dark of Lake Superior. But Shingebiss was nice and warm in his lodge, infuriating the wind, who came to a bad end, I forget what. Or maybe just stormed off, bitterly.
Bitter cold. A bitter wind. Hard done by, frowning that bitter frown. January has reason to be bitter. Shaking its head like a guy fighting old battles. All those high hopes and resolutions undone. The bird feeder not erected. The upstairs room still as chaotic as it was last month. And today, or yesterday, dammit, J.D. Salinger dies. What the hell?
Some people make a bigger minus. I mean, I'll read the obit tomorrow having accommodated myself to the news. But when I first heard, and saw his young-old face next to a copy of Catcher in the Rye (with the carousel horse on the cover) on Lehrer, it was: aw, no, not you. You're supposed to be immortal, like a slender mythic type, a weathered wind god. You're not supposed to die. Maybe turn into a tree. But, no, it turns out he was 91, getting quite old, and maybe he'd also had enough.
NO, wind, you can't come in, said Shingebiss, taking out his kazoo and further infuriating the wind. Thursday, it seems, was Kazoo Day. As a wind instrument, the kazoo is something of an insult, which makes it the perfect choice. Ready?
Be kind to your web-footed friends,
for a duck may be somebody's mother.
They live in the swamps and the woods,
where the weather is cold and damp.
You may think that this is the end. Well, it is.