Monday, February 17, 2014

Battling the Frost Giants

I would be lying if I said I liked winter. I don't -- not even a little bit. In fact, I'm not keen on fall either, and spring is welcome only because it heralds the end of winter. Of course, there are nice things about all of these seasons -- sledding in winter, apples in fall, crocuses in spring. However, I'd give them all up in a heartbeat for perpetual summer. Summer with its flip flops, popsicles, and beaches is the season for me. What can I say? Some like it hot.

So forgive me if this post is crabby. I'm crabby. In the past two weeks, ice demons have dumped over two and a half feet of snow on my roof. Despite constant snow raking (something this hothouse flower from Florida has never even heard of before), I have ice dams all over the place. Even worse, we have nonstop dripping, like Chinese water torture, through the kitchen ceiling.

My poor DH was out on the roof clearing snow and ice from the area above the leak. That's where the roof over a sunroom-turned-breakfast nook butts up against the siding for the main portion of our house. It's also, we discovered, where some numbskull didn't install any flashing. Aargh!  

During this miserable polar vortex, I try to console myself by recalling Tolkien's story in The Silmarillion regarding the creation of Arda. In this tale, Iluvatar gathers the Ainur and declares his plans to them. Then he asks the Ainur, whom he has kindled with the Flame Imperishable, to make a Great Music, thereby bringing his vision into being. Iluvatar listens with pleasure to the flawless music as the Ainur express their gifts until the haughty and overly ambitious Melkor begins to sing his own discordant tune. The noise spreads ever wider until the Ainur's melodies founder in "a sea of turbulent sound." Eventually, when Melkor's noise assaults Iluvatar's very throne, Iluvatar  has to step in, restore order to the song, and console the Ainur. This is the passage that I always remember in winter:
And Iluvatar spoke to Ulmo, and said: 'Seest thou not how here in this little realm in the Deeps of Time Melkor hath made war upon thy province? He hath bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed the beauty of thy fountains, nor of thy clear pools. Behold the snow, and the cunning work of frost! Melkor hath devised heats and fire without restraint, and hath not dried up thy desire nor utterly quelled the music of the sea. Behold rather the height and glory of the clouds, and the everchanging mists; and listen to the fall of rain upon the Earth! And in these clouds thou art drawn nearer to Manwe, thy friend, whom thou lovest.'
Then Ulmo answered: 'Truly Water is become now fairer than my heart imagined, neither had my secret thought conceived the snowflake, nor in all my music was contained the falling of the rain."
When it's 2 degrees outside and I'm dressed like a cabbage in five layers of clothing and still cold, this passage is my go-to memory, reminding me that even in the bitterest situation, something wonderful and lovely can be born. But even the wise and optimistic Tolkien is not working for me at the moment. Right now, I'm really feeling Scandinavian mythology in which Odin deluges Niflheim, that world of mist and chill and ice, with blood and destroys the frost giants. (Man! Those Norsemen knew how to wreak some proper havoc!)

Al fresco summer meals are a distant memory.

Roofers seem to be in short supply right now, but we have one coming to fix things today. Until then, though, I think I'll try drowning my misery in a flood of tea (and maybe something stronger). How many cups do you think it will take?


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