another cold winter day in michigan

It was six degrees when I got up this morning. But no snow accumulation. When I went out to put up the flag and get the newspaper the air was so cold it hurt a little bit to inhale. I recognize that feeling. Living in Michigan most of my life I have been exposed to some extreme weather. When I was courting Eileen I did quite a bit of fishing including ice fishing. You can stay pretty warm outside despite extreme cold. You have to wear layers including long underwear and you must at all costs stay dry. If you do that it’s surprising how well one can stay relatively warm outdoors.

Of course I haven’t been ice fishing in a long time. But I am finding myself very appreciate of the little bit of outdoors around my house. I have been following how our milk weed plants refuse to die in the winter and manage to stay beautiful in snow with wispy seeds dangling but not detaching. I watch birds at our bird feeder and notice their sounds when I am outside. The air was clear and the sky deeply blue this morning when I was out.

One of the first things Eileen said this morning was how lucky we are to have a warm house. Soon after that she pointed out that since Alex’s Grandpa Bob died on Tuesday I am now the last living grandpa in our extended family. Nice.

Today was my biweekly appointment with Dr. Birky. I came out of the appointment feeling good. Birky usually leaves me in that space. Poor guy. Today when he asked me what was going on in my life he got an earful of Gerald Vizenor and Susan Howe. I finished two books by Howe yesterday: Concordance and The Birth-Mark. The next book by Howe I want to read is My Emily Dickinson. My Emily Dickinson (New Directions Paperbook): 9780811216838:  Howe, Susan, Weinberger, Eliot: Books

But I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed right now with all the books I have going. It’s not the time to even interlibrary loan My Emily Dickinson. But it’s definitely in my future.

This afternoon Eileen and I watched Bob Daum’s funeral via Zoom. Wow. Zoom takes an already awful experience like a funeral and makes it ten times worse. The sound was terrible. The “prelude” seemed to be some kind of a device stuck in front of a terribly microphone. It was distorted beyond any semblance of coherence. Apparently Daum was fond of classical music. I didn’t know that but I didn’t have much contact with him. At the end of the ceremony they played a recording of a Beethoven piano sonata. Again awful sound.

It reminded me that I am pleased to be estranged from all things church. The service was at a funeral home. It was decorated in a sort of sixties miniature church architecture. Eileen’s goal was to see Elizabeth and Alex if they were there. She missed them when they were briefly on camera. She went back and replayed the video of the occasion to see Elizabeth.

At first I wasn’t going to watch but it seemed sort of disrespectful to not do so. Jeremy seemed the most collected of all the family members talking. I know he is used to speaking under duress (and often in another language). He handled himself very well in my opinion. That is, what I could understand of what he is saying despite the bad audio.

I have been reading my way through Joy Harjo’s collection, When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry. This morning when I grabbed it to read a poem I noticed in the bio, the poet, Kimberly M. Blaisser, had written a book on Vizenor entitled Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition.

Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition: Blaeser, Kimberly M.:  9780806143163: Books

I felt a little satisfactory chills and appreciation of another incident of serendipity in my life and made a note of the title for future checking out.

Here are a couple of quotes by Vizenor for today:

“[A] sense of self is a creation, an aesthetic presence; the self is not an essence, or an immanence, but the mien of stories.”

I really like that. He added this quote himself: “The self is a narrative construed ‘not as a prelinguistic given that merely employs language, much as we might employ a tool, but rather as a product of language.’ “

The quote is credited to Anthony Paul Kerby in his 1991 book Narrative and Subjectivety.

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