I was born in a cloud...
Now I am falling. I want you to catch me.
Look up and you'll see me.You know you can hear me.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.
~Kate Bush, Snowflake
It is probably never wise to start a post off with at the risk of..., but, while we're talking about authenticity and, to some degree, baring soul (and as a follow up to this post), I'll risk baring this: I finally—this week, in good ole Beantown—took part in one of the dreaded "oscopies." Not fishing for congratulatory remarks, I'm a big girl (oh, am I?), yes, I am, but sometimes it takes me a while to get around to things. Especially those things I don't like. And fear. Such as balancing my checkbook, cleaning out the refrigerator, and, well, getting poked and prodded.
Wednesday, in Boston, it was a grey morning and a balmy 52 degrees. Dr. Bliss dropped by the holding area to say hello, review my records and recite a litany of complications. I read the paperwork! I wanted to tell him. But I didn't. I let him go on. After all, he is Dr. Bliss. Oh, Dr. Bliss, you're so very kind and attentive. (She thinks, and he is) I'm sure this procedure will be like having a cupcake for breakfast. What, shouldn't everyone start their day with a cupcake? There are certainly no complications with cupcakes. Cupcakes are not complicated. They are sweet and harmless (like you, Dr. Bliss). Lest one chokes on one, of course. But really, how would one choke on a cupcake?
There was a moment, a look between us, I felt for sure he'd read my mind. Look, how could I not be thinking about food? And choking? I hadn't eaten in days (alright, hours), and I was about to be wheeled into the tricked out room for an endoscopy.
After Dr. Bliss fluttered away the nurse returned to check my IV and seize my book. A book, you brought a book to your endoscopic procedure? (She said, in not so many words, after I had refused her magazine offering.) She smiled smugly, and I knew that she had heard my meditation on cupcakes. Moments later I was trundled toward the surgical room, where the hard stuff was administered and where all my worries fell away...
Yesterday, yet another mild day in New England, I spent the better (or worse) part of the day in bed, and then, late afternoon at my desk trying to compose a Frolic. But in my still loopy and confused state, not having altogether shaken off the previous day's midazolam and fentanyl cocktail, all I managed to do was watch video loops of snow falling and winterscape screen savers on YouTube while shaking my daughter's snow globe. Something was wrong.
Maybe it was the narcotics.
Or an obscure compulsion (fueled by narcotics?) to expunge all thoughts of Wednesday's stressful scoping by way of alternate, yet still dreamy, optics.
We have no snow. And in the winter months, it is not the waning sunlight that disturbs my circadian rhythm. It is snow deficiency. This winter, in this bend of Rhode Island, we've seen a total accumulation of a mere half foot of snow, which came to us in a weekend whirl and remained only long enough for my daughter and I to leave a pair of skinny ski tracks along our whitened streets during one afternoon. But it was a glorious afternoon. Outside, everything sang. The snow-covered woodpile, the twisting brittle grape vine (which, no matter how invasive, I will not cut—its summer canopy is simply gorgeous), the birdhouse, the stream beyond, and the shallow woods beyond the stream. It was an avalanche of song, it was shimmerglisten harmony, stellatundra chorus, a sorbet deluge of melody, terrablizza, spangladasha!* The next day, as temperatures rose and the dang sun blistered, frost began to pool and trickle down storm drains.
How does one find oneself in the wintertime without a snowy foil shading earth's face? (This is not how New England works!) The starkness of undressed trees and woodland and field, at times, seems unbearable. Where are the tracks laid? There is a crevasse in my soul that longs to be filled, as it rightly should this time of year, with the song of snow.
So what I did, at day's end, at wits end, at the edge of pharmaceutical fuliginousness, was what any decent New England girl would do, I sought the highest counsel: I went to mystical royalty. I went to Kate.
Her eminence, Kate Bush. With her 2011 concept album, 50 Words for Snow—which has been described as "elegantly loony"—she proffers an opulent and moody compilation that conjures what, this season, has become a winter phantom.
From the L.A. Times:
[...] Bush grounds her songs in the permafrost of winter, with her piano work sounding like the first stirrings after a cold snap. “Among Angels” could be the soundtrack for plants stretching toward the new spring sun, but as much as it’s connected to the natural world, the song twinkles with something more ethereal. “I can see angels standing around you,” Bush sings in her windblown soprano, “they shimmer like mirrors in summer.”
Bush's inspiration for the album is rooted in Eskimo lexicon myth: Eskimos have fifty words for snow. But they don't. Bush, nevertheless, brilliantly bangs out her own neologisms de neige in the same seductive voice of yesteryear—her misty highs and lows blanketing the soul with icy wonder dust.
The opening and closing cuts invoke a chill as they dwell on the ephemeral nature of the life cycle. "Snowflake," which features the choirboy pipes of Bush's 12-year-old son Bertie, gives voice to the melting consciousness of the natural world itself; "Among Angels" reads like the sweetest kind of suicide note. In between there are imagined couplings – with a gender-bending snowman in "Misty," and with a lover found and lost through many reincarnations (and played with brio by Elton John) in "Snowed In At Wheeler Street." The bounding "Wild Man" chases a yeti.
50 Words is an enchanting (if, at times, creepy) collection where each song builds on the other. It contains seven songs only, but their depth and breadth (the longest song is 11:08 minutes, the shortest, 6:48) are stunning. Listen. Worries fall away...
And then, there will be cupcakes, iced, this evening. And tomorrow, for breakfast—should there be any leftovers.
* Italicized modifiers courtesy Kate Bush, 50 Words for Snow.
Ah ... love Kate Bush. (Wish I knew how to type a heart icon like I've seen some people do.) And I'll take a cake for breakfast -- should there be any leftovers ...ReplyDelete
Susan- See Wiki herefor html heart codes. ❤Delete
Chocolate cake is my favorite. :)
ACK! Click Wiki Hearts!Delete
<3. I do wish snow for you Jayne. You can have two whole weeks of it, as I will be in San Francisco and sunny LA for the next two weeks. Consider it a frosty gift from me to you for your beautiful writing.ReplyDelete
Dear Bill, you are so thoughtful. I hope we get a major blizzard while you're away in sunny S.F.--love that city. Take a look at Anthony Bourdains' episode on San Francisco for a listing of great restaurants (and other info).Delete
Jayne, cupcakes with frosting as deep as a New England snowfall. Oh wait... that simply won't do. If I could conjure, I'd conjure you a foot of heavy white accumulation suitable for snowballs, snowmen, skiing, and angels. It is still early February...ReplyDelete
This post made me smile as you ever so gently made public your dealings with Dr.Bliss. My recent cream puff post was written while still under the influence of an IV of sedatives delivered to me Saturday evening in the ER. Yes, the fireworks and cream puffs were the delusional mutterings of the heavily sedated;)
I love Kate Bush.
Fabulous Frolic! Stay well.
"[...] frosting as deep as a New England snowfall." Nope, not deep enough this year! Although, too much of a good thing is, well... how can there be too much of good thing when it comes to icing or snow?!Delete
You know, I struggled as to whether I should use the god docs real name. But his is such a good doc that anyone who lives within driving distance of Boston, and is in need of a GI specialist, should know about him. I thank my mother-in-law for the introduction.
And I hope you're ok, Leah! I would not have guessed that you were also a bit loopy when writing your "cream puff" post--delusional mutterings are quite entertaining aren't they?! It's good to experiment with writing in different states (of mind, that is). ;)
Much snow longing here too. Although, at this point, sometimes I feel why bother now? Who wants to start with it when the season's nearly done? But still, I'd take it. I saw on the news tonight that Poland's having one of the worst winters on record. They have something like 16 feet of snow and sub zero temps. I guess they're having what we had last year ...ReplyDelete
Joanne- I does seem almost pointless at the juncture of the season, doesn't it? We're going to head north soon, where we'll find the good stuff--whether is Mother Nature or man made!Delete
Wow--hadn't heard about Poland! But my TV's been off all week (which is not unusual). 16 feet of snow is just crazy. Sub zero temps will keep it on the ground for a good long time, too. Snow plow guys must be delighted (never mind winter sport enthusiasts)!
By the time winter is ready to deliver, I'll be fed up with waiting and in disgust I say, "Oh, just forget it!"ReplyDelete
Gosh, we haven't bought any Kate Bush since "Hounds of Love". As beautiful as her voice and music are, I can't listen for fear of being depressed all day. Most of her music hits me like "Among Angels" in your post. It's so beautiful in a hauntingly sad way. So for my sanity, some things must be sacrificed.
By the way, the animated art in that song is AMAZING! In a distant way, the animation reminds me of the movie, "The Triplets of Belleville".
Leonora- I hear you. I'm feeling a bit of that disgust myself, but when she returns late, long after curfew (and she will, right?), I'll take a deep breath, find forgiveness and welcome her home. After all, this is where she really belongs.Delete
I love Bush's early, mod, mod avant garde days. Really, I hadn't listened to her in a while, but when I heard her new release on NPR, a few months back, I was struck. It is haunting, and sad too, but I love the album as a whole--the entirety of the story. I wanted to add another track, Wild Man, which makes me crazy smile, from the same release, but I ran out of time.
hope you are feeling well again.
I just read a book of a friend of ours, Jo Lendle (who hit the top with that book, Randomhouse) - it is called "All Land" about the great polar explorer Alfred Wegener (who developed the theory of continent drift - nobody believed him, decades later showed he was right). And there Lendle speaks about the myth of Eskimo-language too (en passant) having so many words for snow - though they have about four words for it.)
But Kate Bush is a poet, and poets use (and create) myths.
Britta- Much better, thank you. I said sedation light, please but, wow, that cocktail packed a punch.Delete
All Land sounds fascinating--the polar explorers are a remarkable bunch, and had I known science could lead one to such exotic exploration, I might have chosen a different career path! But then again, I wasn't much good at science. But I love a good non-fiction book. Will have to go hunt it down. ;)
'Snowflake' made me think of the band Sigur Ros for some reason. Layers and repetition and echoing high notes maybe.ReplyDelete
Kate Bush's music is so haunting and atmospheric and seems to really lend itself to dance or film or something. It's quite otherworldly.
I really hope you are feeling better after the hospital visit.
Ah, Sigur Ros, yes. (Have not heard them mentioned in a long time.) Many similarities. In addition to what you mentioned, another interesting thing is the similarities (especially w/Bush's "50 words") in the use of non-sensical language. But where Bush makes up words, Sigur Ros has its own obscure/incoherent language as lyrics. They're an extremely unique band, and I would imagine that much of their creativity has to come from the uniqueness of their Icelandic landscape. I love their Glósóli video.Delete
Feeling much better--listened to some more wonderful music at a festival I attended last night. (And wish I had recorded it.) :)
i was born in a cross fire hurricane...ReplyDelete
i'm very happy not to be shoveling much snow this year. i hope you don't have to visit the hospital again for a long, long time.
Well, yes Billy, there is an upside to the dearth of snow. I worked in a hospital for four years while I was in H.S./College, so I am not too uncomfortable maneuvering around one, but I sure don't like the procedures! I'll do my best to keep away. ;)Delete
I shun any and all 'scopys. No one in my family has ever died of that I say. No one will until the first my doctor says. I stick my head back in the sand.ReplyDelete
Ellen- Ha! You sound like me. And the doc says, well, the benefits out way the risks. Is that so? I wonder how much of it is unnecessary. In my case, w/the persistent GI issues I'd been having, I guess it was the right thing to do. Of course, we still don't have answers, but at least the preliminary results were good--which makes me feel less anxious. Now, I hope, I can stick my head back in the sand for a while, too. ;)Delete
shimmerglisten! sorbet deluge!! i loooove those words...tell me that those words fluttered out of your mind....i love that sorta stuff...i know there is a word for sticking two words together but of course i forget...ReplyDelete
so much in this post but so well put together and tied with a gossamer thread...
yeah i hate 'oscopy' things too...but i figger suffering is worse eh?
as for the snow...well...id feel kinda ripped off and be wandering around demanding to know who was in charge of this winter business, but thats just me...
finally..what a cute n cool birdhouse...three stories no less! love those things..specially when birdies actually decide to move into them...nice birds, not those horrible screechy ones that decided that my roof was their home a few years ago....
oh i do ramble on...great post J ;)
Dan- Wish I could! Those words (italicized) fluttered from Bush's mind. Ah, "gossamer"--like a snowflake...Delete
I'm not the only New Englander feeling ripped off. Although northern New England has snow in its mountains, and we'll head north during the kids' school vacation to ski. At least we'll have that.
The birdhouse my hubby found at a quirky roadside shop (where it was made). That thing has weathered several storms, has lost several inches of height, but is still standing! Our birds love it. And no, not one of them a screecher. ;)
Hmm. Rueful protests and disclaimers notwithstanding, one begins to suspect you of simply manufacturing excuses to visit Boston. :)ReplyDelete
The Missus owns a few Kate Bush albums but not this latest one. (Whichever one included "Wuthering Heights" blew her away.) Possibly a Valentine's Day offering... which would mean more than if I gave her, say, a Benny Goodman, Stray Cats, or Canned Heat collection. :) I'm not a KB fan (can't get past the voice), but I can see her appeal for others!
One of these days, I will see snow again. In N. Florida, we do get occasional nights of sub-freezing temperatures, but they never seem to intersect with precipitation and/or whatever particular up- and down-draft pattern actually results in white stuff (as opposed to sleet and freezing rain, which I can happily do without). The closest thing I can get here to a good solid snowfall in terms of its psychological effects is a good solid fog. Walking The Pooch in the morning fog is interesting: it seems to disorient her, because the sound comes (apparently) from all directions at once and is also muffled. We can stand out in the middle of the cul-de-sac and, for a minute or two, almost believe we're up to our (foot-high, inch-high) knees in stuff that's still coming down.
Ha! Well, JES, I suppose keeping all my docs from Boston is one way to manufacture an excuse. They're all so wonderful I just haven't been able to let them go, even if we do have Brown Med. School here cranking out lot of top docs. Boston is still my comfort zone.Delete
Now, if I lived in Florida, I don't think I'd want to see snow again. Nor would I want freezing rain. At least not in Florida. It's funny you mentioned fog, though, a solid fog--the other morning we had a really thick fog, and as I drove my kids to school I had a similar sensation. It was like a snow squall, and I was probably as disoriented as The Pooch. But I loved the feeling, like being at the top of the mountain mid-January--surrounded by all that vapor--you can't see down the trail beyond 100 feet, it slows you down to a quiet ski. That's a great feeling (if not just a bit eery).
My mother -- who's spent nearly her entire 80 years in NJ and PA -- cannot abide cold weather. She's half-convinced us all that when she dies, she wants us to bury her ashes in FL... swaddled in blankets. :)Delete
Swaddled in blankets! Ha! You will abide her wishes, I'm sure. ;)Delete
Ack. I melt in the heat.
"But it was a glorious afternoon. Outside, everything sang." You know, I like your words the best of all. "Outside, everything sang." Who needs more than that?ReplyDelete
As for the 'oscopies,' what a bore, but hopefully, they serve their purpose and prevent . . . so that, inside, everything sings, as well.
(Couldn't resist that . . .)
Susan- You're right. Who does need more than that! Ha! I have to admit, even if I prefer to be elsewhere, our suburban yard (even the neighborhood) sings to me a lot. Snow or not.Delete
Ack. Scopes. Well, they do serve their purpose, don't they. I was singing after it was all over and my head emerged from the haze. ;)
Endoscopy isn't much fun, but might be needed some times. I've done it once when I was 15yo.ReplyDelete
Winter without snow is not fun either. We had a bad start on this winter, little snow in November and December, but now it's plenty. Great!
Kate Bush is good, great voice, says even a metal-head >:)
Cold As Heaven
Cold- Ha--I found an artist you like!Delete
The weird thing about this winter is how, relatively speaking, mild it's been. We're starting to experience a little cold snap this week, but I still haven't had to bundle up like I ordinarily would for the winter. I like wearing heavy, down-filled or woolen coats. At least this week I'll be wrapping a scarf around my neck. ;)
we have definitely had an oddly mild winter as well - not as dramatically different as y'all back east, but just one dusting of snow and today in the mid 50's was just - awesomely awesome? felt like a kid :) i'll deal with the lack of cold, i'm sure of it :)ReplyDelete
now time to dance about the living room. i suggest you do the same (but to something sillier than kate...).
Hey there, Eco--what the heck is going on with our climate? It's been an odd season worldwide, and you have to think this is just the beginning of global warming effects. I'm going to have to move... to follow the snow!Delete
I'm looking for my dance music... ;)
I often wish for snow and then it comes and I realize that my wishes, like my dreams, are best left as illusions.ReplyDelete
Ha! One of those "you might get what you wish for" moments? No, no, not I. Bring it on! ;)Delete
Even if you're not fishing, congratulations on the 'oscopy.' Now that I've got more than a few gray hairs sprouting from my head, I imagine it's only a matter of time before I need to get poked and prodded (preferably by a doctor).ReplyDelete
Also, while I can appreciate the snow, I wasn't a big fan of the 2 feet of snow we got hit with last week. Or maybe I should say my car isn't a big fan of trying to push through it and not get stuck on the way to the grocery store.
Beer- Thanks for that. I'm such a coward, though--took me long enough to work up the nerve to do it. 50 is the magic number. I think you still have a ways to go, so breathe, and enjoy it! 50+ has its pluses. You know, AARP discounts aren't all that bad. ;)Delete
Two feet of snow?! I don't know why I don't live out in the Rockies... (sigh).
Jayne: I agree with you. You have to stay in the comfort zone with the docs. Sending you all good wishes. The consensus is (among other bloggers too) that this has been a mild, if not weird winter. Smiles to You! : )ReplyDelete
i wrote somewhere, the winter of our discontent. Mine anyway.Delete
Thanks, Michael. Results are in and all is well. I'm normal. Well, um, I'm fine, yes. ;)
Just read your linked post, and find I relate so very much to what you say and feel. I am also faced with having to deal with doctors a bit too much lately. I also am a terrible patient, only I am a terrible terrible patient. Part of it comes from knowing too much and being of the skeptical persuasion. Whenever I have tests ordered, I think I see them before the doctor does. Perhaps not. But I do have a habit of hitting up medical records for the results before I see the doctor for his interpretation.ReplyDelete
I hope your tests are good and that nothing ugly rears its head. You are in my prayers. :)
You know, my primary care doc just hates it when I do too much research. I dig up all the horror stories that give me good argument against subjecting myself to the usual course of action. Docs just hate it when you get ahead of them. (I suppose that's for good reason.) And I also find folks in all kinds of chat rooms who have similar ailments, have been through myriads of testing and still have no answers. I think that sometimes we just go through weird phases/changes that have weird effects on our body. Yes, that sounds reasonable, right?!Delete
But then, if I don't follow through and something is found too late, I'll kick myself. And my kids would never forgive me. So we do what we must do. Weigh the risks against the benefits. Hope our docs are steering us in the right direction, and pray they don't screw up.
No ugly rearings to date, RJ. Passed this one. (Wipes brow). Thanks for your good thoughts. :)