Cold Days and Child Things

by angeliska on February 7, 2007

On cold days it is
Easy to behave and
Easy to believe in it
With a bit of ice under my clothes
My tongue against the teeth
I think of nothing
Walk around the house on the cold
‘Til it hurts to breathe
I think of nothing
-Winter Killing
Stina Nordenstam


Last month, during the freak ice storm
it snowed. In Texas.
Something I haven’t seen since
I was about five years old..

It was eerie.
Everything shut down for a few days.
I stayed home and shivered.
Huddled around the heater,
sipping soup and dreaming.
When I ventured out doors
to try and capture the flurries,
I was captivated instead by
an unfamiliar sound.
The clatter of frozen leaves
and branches creaking in the wind.

Such icy fingers you have!
To many of you who live in regions
with four distinct seasons,
these images and revelations
will no doubt seem mundane..
But for a southern girl who has
seen snow only a scant handful of
times, it was terribly exciting!

Thick coatings of ice on every object
made for excellent staring,
until my fingers got too numb
for shooting.

A slivery chip of ice stuck in a cat skull
by chance. It was found under the house
and the other animals won’t stop
gnawing on it. There’s not much
left of it at this point.

Frozen pollywog and shiny china.

My bicycles were covered in icicles!

It was just lovely.

Much better, however to be inside, in the warm kitchen with Miss O.
It’s the kind of weather that makes you want
to stay inside and drink tea and read this
very wonderful book that was my favorite
when I was small:

Arm in Arm: A Collection of Connections,
Endless Tales, Reiterations, and Other Echolalia

by Remy Charlip
One of my favorite pages went like so-
On the left, a child playing in the snow says,
“Isn’t it better to be out in the cold snow saying,
‘Isn’t is better to be out in the cold snow
rather than in a warm bed?’
rather than in a warm bed saying,
‘Isn’t it better to be out in the cold snow
rather than in a warm bed?’”

On the right, a child in a bed
of six sleeping children says,
“Isn’t it better to be in a warm bed saying,
‘Isn’t it better to be in a warm bed
rather than out in the cold snow’
rather than out in the cold snow saying,
‘Isn’t it better to be in a warm bed
rather than out in the cold snow?’”

Charmingly, the windows of each side
present a view of the other scene,
with a hint of each element
echoed in reverse on either side.
You really should just go look
at it for yourself.

J-bird looking sweet and thoughtful.
Just the other day, he called me and asked me to send him a copy
of the first (or earliest surviving) picture I ever drew.

Here it is!
Check out the fat hummingbirds,
stripey socks, arms and dress..
I must have been about 4 or 5
when I drew this.
It’s a fancy lady! With hearts!
Long eyelashes!
Wearing dangly earrings!
Holding a plant!
My mom had framed it,
but I found it in a box
with the glass all smashed
in my parent’s garage.
It’s about to disintegrate.
It makes me happy.
I meant to write about the cold weather,
but somehow I’m writing about being little.
I had this dream the other night:
We are walking past
a little girl has a hole in her
bicycle tire- when she shakes it
water pours out.
They ask if we can patch it,
so we do- and I am looking
for a clean hankie to wipe
the smudges and tears
from her face.
I materialize one in my pocket
and a dab o’ spit and I’m
scrubbin’ at her cheek when
I see that she looks just like me.
Or just like me when I was wee.
I want to say something,
but it sounds too strange to say..
I think she was me, actually.
Or I am still, only bigger.

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