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Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

For the fourth morning in the past week we woke up with the furnace out and the house cold. It is spring and it’s 23 degrees outside. The cold is seeping in, and we’re growing weary of winter but still hoping the furnace repairman will find the answer to the mystery of the starting and stopping oil furnace. We should be thankful I guess, every barrel of oil we don’t burn is a $104 we’ve saved.

The mystery began last Saturday when a bat flew down the chimney and fricasseed itself on some wires deep in the furnace’s inner workings. We’ve seen stray bats out early, flying erratically along the creek road. They seem to not know where they are going and have forgotten how to fly. We’ve heard they are succumbing to the white muzzle disease that is spreading across the East Coast. Bats and honey bees and flocks of birds falling from the sky – they seem like the biblical plagues of ancient Egypt.

This spring the world is convulsing with horror and hope. Revolution is in the air in Egypt and elsewhere, like the hopeful smell of Prague spring. Will it survive, or will it be another generation under the tyrant’s heel? Spring is like that; it gives and then it takes away. The sun shines warm and we drag the garden bench out of the shade and read a book for an hour. Then in the night the snow piles up on the grass. Everything about spring is personal. It’s happening to everyone, personally.

Unless you live on the bottom half of the planet, in which case it is growing colder. Like the illusion that there is a top and a bottom of the world, we cling to our provincial misapprehensions. Like forgetting that our spring is someone else’s autumn, we live globally but think locally.

We believe our cold winter means we are no longer living in an experimental global greenhouse in which our grandchildren will be growing orchids inside the Arctic Circle and Phoenix will be a ghost town. We believe, against all logic, that we are the culmination of history, the avant-garde, when we are really just shadows on the wall, paper birds folded in the nuclear rain.

Snow is falling in Japan and the world is convulsing in a particularly frightening way. As I read the news reports, and heard stories of the brave citizens of northeastern Japan, I kept thinking that at least spring is coming there and the cherry blossoms will bloom.

A bird woke me yesterday morning, just before dawn. It was a loud bird with a shrill cry perched on a branch outside my bedroom window. It was telling me to put on a warm sweater because it was cold outside and my furnace was busted.

“Spring is like a perhaps hand,” the poet e.e. cummings wrote, mysteriously. Perhaps it is here, perhaps it is not here, perhaps it is still winter and I am not yet awake. I am neither here nor there, wrapped up in a heavy coat, waiting for the repairman to come.

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