Sunday, March 3, 2013

MY CHERUBS

Rain is drumming on the broken piece of soffit outside my window.  The rhythm fights against the tapping of my fingers on this computer keyboard.  It sounds like the hallway at the university, over in the music building where the practice rooms are situated like jail cells along a long corridor, students focused and passionate in their own rooms, oblivious to what’s going on in the rooms straddling them.  The pianist in the room next to the cellist and the drummer  create quite a muddled cacophony in the hallway. Those rooms need more acoustic padding.

I woke to the tap, tap, tap of rain this morning.  It was so unfamiliar it took a few seconds to register that it was rain.  We haven’t had rain here in Farmington UT since last year. It’s been a long cold, white and miserable kind of winter.  The snow came at Christmas and overstayed its welcome.  Here’s a picture from my phone as we pulled into our driveway in December.

Snow, when it’s new and fresh and you do not have to travel 2000 miles in it, is such a lovely thing.  It creates a new source of light reflection, and it softens the edges of our architectural world, creating a sort of peace.  But after a long while, when it refuses to melt away for even a minute, it becomes the houseguest that starts to smell.  Down at Station Park the parking lots look like asphalt seas that have been frozen over, with massive icebergs strewn over the perimeter, icy, dirty, larger than life mounds of plowed snow.  My friend said last night that he considered having a contest to guess when the last of the last glacier melts in the parking lot. I predict late August.

We do have the advantage of living in a place what looks rather lovely in snow.  Lots of trees, and a classic red brick house with dark tile roof, and layers of yard against a wash of the Wasatch Mountains. I acknowledge that we are blessed with this.  It’s a lot to shovel though, and my poor shoulder is living proof of that today. We get what we call big dumps that trap us in our garage and doorways occasionally.  The steep pitch on our roof creates a perfect storm of ingredients.  The tile holds onto the snow as it falls, and the good insulation keeps it from melting with the rising heat from inside.  Eventually though, what is up must come down, and there will be an avalanche of massive proportions.  My poor sister Sherry was sitting in the family room a few weeks ago and thought she was in an earthquake.  She’s from California and that’s how it felt. 

Here’s a picture of the snow working its way off the sloped eave of the front of our house.  See, she just does not want to leave.  Ah, Winter!

I have three cement cherubs that keep watch in our front yard.  They’re been guarding our space for 20 years now.  I bought them with my mom when the Hotel Utah was acquired by the LDS church and they remodeled.  Once upon a time, I’m told, 100 of those cherubs lined the perimeter of the building, up high where the peregrine falcons used to nest. In later years they were in the cafeteria.  But I bought them at DI, for far less than they are worth. The church decided to sell the hotel furniture and other pieces at various Deseret Industry stores, and our friend, who managed one of those stores, said we should come take a look. I bought them and two brass chandeliers, one of which graces our entry hall and the other lights the entry of my sister Ann Marie’s house. I also purchased two soft down easy chairs which I keep in my bedroom.  They are situated by the windows and perfect to sit in when I’m folding David’s socks and need the sunlight to tell navy blue from black.

The antiques dealer in me says I should never…ever…put those cherubs out on the ground, exposed to the weather.  I have considered bringing them in for the winter, except they weigh about a million pounds each. I have many really nice old pieces that are stored in the basement because they have “value”.  But my friend Cindy put it best a few weeks ago when we were having dinner at their house.  It was just a regular old day, no special occasion.  We share a lot of meals together.  But she’s been worn weary battling cancer for the second time, and I think she was finally feeling a little more herself and wanted to cook. She’s a fabulous cook, so of course we said we would be right over! She had set the large table in the formal dining room with a beautiful spring colored tablecloth and lovely, happy, pastel colored cloth napkins.

“Gee Cinny,” we said, “What’s the occasion?”
“Life” she responded.  “I’ve learned to use my things.  Use them now, while I can.”
And so I let my cherubs witness the seasons with us.  See them here, nearly buried in the winter? 

You can just barely see the head of one of them, with a high hat made of snow atop his head. 

And, evn though the snow if finally half melted, this one is probably glad for the snow because it has kept his private parts private!

 I may, someday, regret not taking better care of these historic pieces.  I get twinges now and again.  But they bring me joy when I see them, in the winter snow, or with autumn leaves swirling at their feet, or seeming to dance among the impatiens in the summer shade.  And who are we to hide joy from ourselves?  Sometimes joy comes to us, without beckoning, and we embrace that willingly.  But sometimes it is sitting there in our basements, and we forget to pull it out and let it fill the measure of its creation…here…and now.

In the classic movie Out of Africa I love that scene where Karen tells Dennis, “I like my things.”  She’s not apologizing.  She is a storyteller, and her mind is triggered by the beauty of the things she has surrounded herself with. In the end she sells all of them anyway, because she needs to. But while she can, she keeps them, and cherishes them.

It’s been a long hard winter, in many ways.  My cherubs being buried under the snow is somewhat representative.  But look…it’s raining…and they are emerging in their cherubic glory! Welcome back, little men!

1 comment:

  1. It has been such a long hard winter in so very many ways. We are grateful for sisters and friends who help us to maintain our perspective, when at times like this in our lives it is often easy to lose. Those cherubs I have always felt were symbolic of the heavens watching over all who came and went from your home, heaven blessed for having come. May this winter soon close its doors and welcome in spring. That is my prayer!! Love you!!

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