Sunday, February 8, 2009

First Spring Trespass

The weather today was not only gloriously warm, but sunny. This is a rarity in late winter Indiana, due to meteorological phenomena that I do not pretend to understand but seem to produce a correlation between warm and wet and, conversely, cold and sunny. This strange confluence of both higher temperatures and a clear sky prompted me out of doors, aided and abetted by a free afternoon.

First, I noticed that the trees are starting to bud. This may not have the same significance to you as it carries for me, but one of my earliest signals that spring is approaching, albiet still at a fair distance, is when the tiny buds that form on the trees and remain there, hard little knots all winter, begin to swell and soften. The tree in front of our townhouse has full-fledged, fuzzy buds.

Then, I went for a lovely traipse. The best traipses, I find, include a fair bit of trespassing. It's no coincidence that the words sound so similar, to my mind, for you really oughtn't to have one without the other. The only slightly dangerous adventure that trespassing adds to traipsing rounds out the experience, and I can think of no legitimate reason to trespass excepting a nice walk that happens to lead through a neighbor's property. I was raised on trespassing; my father, lacing into his snowshoes and criss-crossing deer paths across the back acres of several neighbors, summed our communal acceptance of the practice up quite nicely. "If they can't take a joke, screw 'em." I came home with shoes soaked by snowmelt puddles and increasing optimism that winter is not, in fact, endless.

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Phrase: Slap Crappy

Slap-crappy day at work yesterday. I hope I'm not "telling someone else's story" as C.S. Lewis would say when I share that our boss had to lay someone off. I guess I can't scoff "economy-schmonomy" anymore (not that I use language-shmanguage on a regular basis, but if I did, that would be the expression of my investment in discussions about the economy). So even though I've been assured I don't need to worry about my job in the foreseeable future, I still feel like crap about the whole situation.


Part of this is the small work environment, which fosters a sense of really knowing your coworkers. I imagine at a big cubicle company, you could probably go a couple days, maybe even a week, before you realized that George three cubicles down wasn't coming to work anymore. But as we see each other every day, we have quite a bit of personal stake in each other's well-being, and empathy can kind of suck sometimes.


Further, there's workplace survivor guilt. Not that I can compare this to how plane crash survivors feel, but there's a certain "there but for the grace of God go I" randomness to the whole thing, and a lingering guilt that someone else lost their job so I could keep mine.


Other than that, life as usual. Randy and I took a trip to McCormick's Creek park last Saturday. There's a waterfall in the middle of the park, and when we have real winter that stays cold long enough, it freezes into an icy sculpture, though you can still hear water rushing underneath it. The limestone sides of the canyon it runs into have ice stallactites wending down them, and the whole effect is very impressive. And cold. But I bought new galoshes and my dad gave me super wool socks, so I felt pretty invincible prancing around in the snow.