Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cold Snap

View from the window at Perch Lake. I helped my mother plant the pines 20 odd years ago. 
A cold snap followed the January thaw; my grandpa passed away last week. Yesterday his funeral in Minnesota, which I couldn't attend. I am told they cut pine from his former tree farm to use as decoration for the church. I am told so many Caseys packed into my parents house that my sisters thought the floor might give way, landing them all in the basement. I was sad to miss the merriment that goes with the passing of one such as Grandpa whose life was filled with children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and who, up until the last few years of his life, lived fully, blessed.

We are all waiting now for the weather to give, going a little stir-crazy. Moses is walking with only two weeks until his first birthday. Full with baby love, he carries us books to read aloud to him, snuggling in close, pointing at images and whispering sounds. He repeats certain one-syllable words and points at the ceiling, "up" he says and I lift him up and let him touch the lights or the birdies hanging in his room. Up and up and up. I wonder if we too learn in bursts and spurts as children do...slower of course....years of trying to be a kinder, less bossy, less sensitive, rash human, and I still hope for my own burst of what grown-ups call "change" instead of "learning." A bitter week of bickering it has been and we are stuck with the same old diligent, ridiculous problems. Alone, I pray to try harder. I have learned that one can only try and try and try.

It is a charmed life indeed. Our problems are only problems because we ascribe them this meaning. Moreover there are many chances to learn, to grow, to burst forth in change. And I don't mean that in everything there is an opportunity to learn something. Though perhaps there is, I don't look at things and try to learn lessons. I just look at things and try to accept them as if naming what is, what is not.

A cold snap and I wonder if everywhere people are so in tune with the ways of the weather, the particular names of things like snap and thaw and break that make living in the north all the more enthralling, because those who stay must confess to a love of adventure, hardship and challenge. Winter pushes us forth, demanding we adapt while offering us such desolate beauty that even the coldest heart is warmed.

My sweet grandpa, Roger John Casey. 


 

3 comments:

Lois said...

lovely and true, Your Grandfather looked like a super kind nice man, in this pic he has a golden aura about him.

Mayumi said...

What a lovely and lyrical post, Em.

Emily Arnason Casey said...

Thanks! He was a sweet man in his later years. Though, as a younger fellow I think he had this interesting mix of jolly and gruff. I loved his laugh and his passion for sweets! He was always quite content to just be around his family.