It’s 7:00 in the morning and it is freezing cold. The calendar says it is nearly May but there could be flurries today. Last night there was freezing rain and lots of it. Silver thaw we used to call it.
In 1959 silver thaw knocked the lights out for several days in St. John’s. The Americans at the Pepperell Air Force base kept emergency power flowing to our main hospital with generators. It was one of those weather events that closed schools and businesses and reminded us that we live on an island in the middle of the North Atlantic.
A cool wake-up
At 6:30 this morning I was out to the mailbox and down my unpaved driveway to get the paper. Walking on road gravel covered in ice wakes you up nicely when you are wearing slippers.
That paper I retrieved from the mailbox used to be The Evening Telegram when there were two papers in St. John’s. Now it is the Early Morning Telegram which is fine with me. Retired gentlemen get up at early hours because it puts more time in the days that are no longer without limit. Also a pleasure of a higher order is the quiet of the house or the garden in the early morning and a newspaper to read over the first coffee of the day.
How will the weather turn out today? The sky is cloudy. It is freezing cold. Somewhere way below zero I expect. If the wind drops off I will work outside in the garden. There are about two lifetimes of work to do out there from hauling tree stumps to trying to rebuild the little store-bought pond that never quite was finished. If the snow comes or the silver thaw I’ll light a fire in the stove downstairs. There is still a nice bit of birch and black spruce left from the winter stockpile and if the lights go out there is plenty of gas for the generator.
A sincere Irish wish
So how is the weather “shaping up” as they say on television? Well the short answer is: I don’t really care. It is just great to be here under any sky or any weather. When you get to a certain age all days, be they rain or shine or anywhere in between, are good ones.
You know in the past five weeks I have been to no less than four funeral services. The good news is none of them were my own. Two were classmates; one was an in-law relative; the other was a friend. You will find, if you live long enough, and you can write this down, that the older you get the more time you spend in funeral parlours, as they used to be called, saying “Sorry for your troubles” to grieving people. It is a sincere Irish wish that I learned from my grandfather.
So it is that the weather today is great. There is time to read the paper and contemplate The Infinite. There is time for at least another coffee.
NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: [email protected]