A Certain Kind of Mist

There are days when the mountain I see everyday is hidden in mist, and the squirrels seem to have multiplied in the gloom beneath the bird feeders, still a favorite feeding place for them even though the feeders themselves have insidious devices that close the holes to the seed when a squirrel’s weight is on them, but not a bird’s. They learn quickly it’s no use. They become ground feeders.

There are days when the mountain I see everyday is hidden in mist, and the top logs on the stack behind the house are wet, well wetter than the ones beneath them because rips in the plastic cover let the rain trickle down, but still I take them from the top row, not farther down, and hope their time by the stove will dry them out before they get put in. They always burn.

There are days when the mountain I see every day is hidden in mist, and the mail carrier seems later than usual and I wonder if I missed hearing the truck crunch the gravel as it pulls up to the mail box, or whether she really is later, and this being just three days before Christmas and cards and gifts are still coming. There is a lot of mail to deliver this time of year.

There are days when the mountain I see every day is hidden in mist, and I forget to restart my grandparents’ mantel clock in the morning so there are no quarterly chimes for several hours until the house seems odd, too quiet, and the day seems really long, and maybe it’s already noon or nearly noon when I remember to start it up again, pushing the hour hand slowly so the chimes don’t get out of sync with the numerals and then require a massive pushing of the hour hand quickly through twelve entire hours to stay ahead of the chimes or get ahead of the times, or with them, or whatever. Digital clocks are easier but they have no memories.

There are days when the mountain I see every day is hidden in mist, and I’m tempted in the morning not to check the weather channel for the “local on the eights” to see what the forecast is going to be for the rest of the day but just let it ride and not expect any color other than gray which isn’t a really bad color when you think about it because gray looks like it’s always about to turn into some other color. The meteorologists will have nothing to say about this because they are never thinking about magenta or indigo. So I don’t.

There are days when the mountain I see every day is hidden in mist, and I wonder if there are leftovers for dinner and whether we would really want to eat leftovers again on a day like this when something new and fresh would taste really good, but on the other hand a trip to the grocery store means going outside and even the cats are not too keen on it and have a great tolerance, actually enthusiasm, for eating the same food day after day, and they are good teachers. So maybe leftovers will be all right.

There are days when the mountain I see every day is hidden in mist, and I think today is the day I will not check my email, even once, because it’s just not the right kind of day for checking email or any other dismal activity that can suck you in and make you forget about what time it is and whether there might be more Christmas cards in the mail box—and gifts—if you went out and looked. You need bright things to do on a day like this, and besides emails may not have been able to find their way here in the mist.

There are days when the mountain I see every day is hidden in mist, and I just finished reading a really long book that wore me out, but it was good and I enjoyed it, and now the thought of starting a new book is overwhelming and so I browse around in books I’ve already read hoping to find some passage or other that inspired me once and might do so again, but eventually this begins to feel too much like doing research and the number of books lying open on the floor cluttered around my chair starts to look a bit neurotic. I think maybe I should just do a crossword puzzle.

There are days when the mountain I see every day is hidden in mist, so I don’t look out that window, and everything seems a bit better. Today is one of those days, and my holiday wish for you is that you never lose sight of the mountain.

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