In this pandemic year where it is not safe to travel, books and television have become even more important to me. I’m a fan of Scandinavian noir–mysteries set in Sweden, Finland, Iceland, or Norway. Henning Mankell and his Wallander series of books are one of my favorites. I very much enjoyed two Scandinavian TV series: “The Bridge” and “The Restaurant.” Be sure to watch the Swedish version of “The Bridge”, which is the best. It’s dark but absolutely compelling. “The Restaurant” is a three season series set in Stockholm on the Roku Channel and Sundance Now, very popular in Europe, which I think is as good as “Downton Abbey”– terrific production values, acting and costumes. Thank goodness for ebooks from the library, Netflix and Prime. Now if we can just get to the end of this very difficult year. I think better times are ahead and hope that you feel that way, too.
Tag Archives: winter
I heard someone say the other day that it felt like January 74th. I find January and February in Maine to be trying. I don’t ski, my cold tolerance is definitely decreasing with age, and it makes me cross to wobble around on icy surfaces. In that rather crabby vein, I offer a sour, wonderful poem by Amy Gerstler (copyright by the poet, of course).
A Severe Lack of Holiday Spirit
I dread the icy white concussion
of winter. Each snowfall demands
panic, like a kidnapper’s hand
clapped over my chapped mouth.
Ice forms everywhere, a plague
of glass. Christmas ornaments’
sickly tinkle makes my molars ache.
One pities the anemic sun
come January. Trees go skeletal.
Children born in the chilly months
are apt to stammer. People hit
the sauce in a big way all winter.
Amidst blizzards they wrestle
unsuccessfully with the dark comedy
of their lives, laughter trapped
in their frigid gizzards. Meanwhile,
the mercury just plummets,
like a migrating duck blasted
out of the sky by some hunter
in a cap with fur earflaps.
Here in southern Maine we had an unusually snowy November. Many of us didn’t have time to rake leaves before the snow came. Here is a timely short poem by William Carlos Williams.
Warm holiday wishes to all.
All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.
Everyone is tired and crabby after the past month or so of snow, bitter cold and more snow. Boston is a big mess that is making national news. Here in southern Maine we are not paralyzed to that extent, but driving is treacherous and we’re running out of places to put snow. Tonight into Sunday another 12-15″ is predicted, with 50mph+ winds. I went to my town library yesterday and stocked up for the long weekend with books and a movie.
Here is a photo of my late cousin Truman Capote with a cat – I have a collection of photos of writers with their pets and will keep throwing them in randomly. Capote has been on my mind since the hoopla over the pending release of his friend Harper Lee’s sequel to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I can’t help but wonder what Capote would think of all this, or of the book itself. His original last name was Persons; my father’s cousin Archie was his father. Truman’s mother later married Mr. Capote and changed the boy’s name. I never met him, but am a long time admirer of his writing.
Here is a short winter poem by Thomas Campion (1576-1620)
Now the winter nights enlarge
The numbers of their hours
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups overflow with wine;
Let well turned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Here is the late writer Peter Matthiessen with a cat. And a feline doing research.
After an easy December with little snow, New Englanders were hit with three big snowstorms in a row at the end of January. And 6-10 more inches are predicted for tomorrow, at least in southern Maine. I’m still digging out and neatening up the walkways. Thank goodness for the library. I recently read two notably good books: THE ROUND HOUSE by Louise Erdrich and THE ASSASSINATION OF MARGARET THATCHER, a collection of stories by Hilary Mantel. Erdrich’s novels are always rewarding, rich with native American wisdom, family history and humor. I really liked Mantel’s twisted, often dark stories. I want to read her WOLF HALL and sequels.
Consolations during this frigid, trying time of year include a fireplace, comfort food like mashed potatoes, stew and homemade bread, email with faraway friends, my cats and dog, “Downton Abbey” and other good things on TV, but most of all, books. I hope you have a big pile of them at your house.