Looking back over the last month, from February 1st until today, a period of thirty-one days, there have been only seven days above freezing. In Woodstock, the average high temperatures for the month of February range from 37˚F and 43˚F, and the average lows range between 16˚F and 20˚F, keeping in mind that the end of February tends to be warmer than the beginning. This year, there's been snow on the ground – a lot of snow on the ground - since the end of January, with no melt to speak of, since the Blizzard of 2015, January 27th. I can't find the snow total for this period anywhere online, so I can only guess that we must have gotten at least two and a half feet, cumulatively. At Kingston, not too far south, the current snow depth is 17". Here, it's deeper. The snow has just kept piling up. We've had eleven nights at zero or below. Last year, there were only three nights at zero or below here in Woodstock. And last year, there were fourteen days above freezing (some well above freezing). The average high this year (by Spooky's calculation) was 27˚F and the average low was 3˚F. I'm not even going to get started on wind chill, though that is, of course, what makes the cold so deadly. By all accounts, as with the rest of the Northeast, this has been a brutal fucking winter for Ulster County. If we're lucky and the meteorologists are right, the melt should begin next week. I have no idea what's going on in Providence. We're dashing back home on Friday for a few hours, and I guess we'll see then.
I've only rarely left the cabin, in part because of my Magic Toenail, in part because – even after seven years in New England – I simply do not own the clothing for this weather. And we've hardly driven anywhere because the van doesn't like to pull hills, which obviously makes it perfect for the Catskills.
Last night, lying on the sofa, I got to thinking about that field of poppies that the Wicked Witch of the West placed between Dorothy and the Emerald City and about the snow Glinda sent to wake them. I cannot be the first to see this as the delivery of a sorcerous speedball.
Someday I'll write an essay about how badly I've lost my way the last three years, between Dark Horse and Kathleen Tierney. But now isn't the time. The wounds are too fresh. Instead, I'll try and focus on getting myself back on track.
There's nothing much to say about yesterday. Email and a phone conversation with my agent. Not much else. Spooky braved the snow to get pizza for dinner (from Catskill Mountain Pizza), because I can chew again. It's the best pizza I've had since coming to New England. And, of course, that's because we're not in New England, but, rather, in New York, from whence all great pizza flows. She read to me from Ghost Story. I tended the fire.
I need to do better today.