Stuck on the train outside Newark. Snow and sleet pouring down, mostly sleet. My seatmate, who works in advertising, is reading James Joyce’s Ulysses.
We are in the midst of ice. Cold and ice, beautiful coating on every branch and twig, demanding you look and look again, wondering at the light, the glass covering of what’s inside. Ice on the driveway that makes you think about why some of it can be cracked and some of it cannot. Ice by the door that makes you stop and think before you step. Ice that makes the branches of the willow crack and fall, that somehow covers the back yard in bright crystals, that takes the branches from the maple, that coats the dry brown fern.
And, of course, ice that makes us late. We had more storm on Friday that didn't really hurt the commute, just added a little time on the way home, including an extra 30 minutes for scraping the ice off the windshield in the parking lot. But even there, getting to the parking lot is through trees ablaze in light, pink mercury light refracted, and bright stars emerging from above, and in the parking lot the sounds of tink tink tink like a mining camp as everyone stands by a car, fracturing the ice, scraping, pushing it onto the icy ground in quiet little tinklecrashes.
Aboard some delayed Amtrack outside New Brunswich, which now—at, in fact, Jersey Avenue—appears to be slowing down for the count. The temperature climbed to the 40s yesterday, but now there's this big cold front, labeled FRIGID on the Weather Channel's map last night, and blue, colored blue, that is coming through, spelling VERY COLD for the weekend. So, it will freeze outside, making the basement a little drier, since water will not be swooshing through the air hole from the patio into the crawl space under the kitchen, trickling through the little opening, across the crawlspace dirt floor and into the basement, drip drip drip down the cinderblock wall, wending finally across the basement floor to its sump hole destination.
The temperature is plummeting again, weatherman scheduled to stay below freezing for the next few days after thawing just enough to make sure it was rain that fell yesterday, lots, so that the basement began to flood again because of the wending water continued to find the crawl space attractive. It is, sigh, winter. I just wish I could figure out a way to stop up that crawl space air hole before the next thaw.