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Winter Solstice 2008

The snow is falling hard again. Hubero is sitting on my desk, watching as the white world gets a little whiter. I have promised him that it will be at least Wednesday before the weather forces us to eat the cats. Hubero replies he is grateful to now live in the world of corner stores.

Bad insomnia again last night. But I did manage to get to sleep before 5:30 ayem. While Spooky was reading to me from The Historian, I could hardly keep my eyes open. As soon as she stopped, I was wide awake. This is no reflection on the book.

No writing again yesterday.

Yesterday, the mail brought my contributor's copies of the new PS Publishing edition of Ray Bradbury's The Day It Rained Forever (originally published in 1958), which includes my introduction, "The Most Beautiful Music I've Ever Read." At this point, depending what one does and does not count, I've written and published upwards of seven novels, something like a hundred and fifty short stories, novellas, and vignettes, dozens of comic scripts for Vertigo, won a few awards, and so forth. But, honestly, I think I've never been half so proud of anything as I was of seeing my name on the title page of The Day It Rained Forever ("Introduction by...."). It completes a sort of circle, as Bradbury was such an enormous formative influence. I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity. Among my comp copies was the deluxe boxed set, which includes the PS Publishing editions of both The Day It Rained Forever and A Medicine For Melancholy. Almost, but not quite, the same collections. There are four stories in the former that were not included in the latter, and vice versa. Essentially, The Day It Rained Forever was the UK edition of A Medicine For Melancholy.

I desperately needed to get Outside yesterday, if only to see Providence blanketed in all this snow. It took us about half an hour to dig out the van, so we could escape the driveway. I brought a yardstick down, and measured the snow depth in a number of undisturbed spots. An average of 9 inches, with drifts well over a foot. We drove (very slowly) from Federal Hill, across the river to College Hill. The roads were slushy and brown, and not as many people were out as I'd expected. This was already late in the day, after four thirty by the time we reached Wickenden Street. Eastside Market was open, and we stopped for a few things, then headed back towards Benefit Street. There are photos below. The sky had gone the color of blue-grey clay, and it was snowing hard. We followed Angell Street west, then ended up on Congdon headed south. By fits and starts, we reached Benefit Street. I saw Lovecraft's "Shunned House" (the "Yellow House" of my own stories) in the snow, which made it look quite a bit more imposing. I glimpsed the Fleur-de-Lys House (from "The Call of Cthulhu") through the storm. We headed back across the Point Street Bridge, and stopped to take a few photos of the Providence River and snow-shrouded College Hill. The river was like slate, and the waves seemed more like chips in stone. The old wharf that, in the summer, is usually covered with gulls and cormorants, was buried in snow and ice. And that clay sky above it all. We made it back home just before sunset.

And now it is Solstice, and the days will grow longer. And that is a great relief. The rebirth of the "Great God," if only metaphorically. Though, truthfully, a metaphorical Cernunnos or Pan is as useful to me as would be one whose reality were less subjective. Here it is truth that applies, not fact. The wheel turns, and the Horned God wakes again. The long night of winter will end soon enough. A happy and/or blessed Solstice/Yule/Midwinter to all those who wish to be wished such.

Yes, this entry is wandering a bit, isn't it?

A reminder that the current eBay auctions are ongoing. Please do have a look. Now, the photographs from yesterday:





Lloyd Avenue, I think, looking west.



Prospect Terrace Park, on Congdon Street, where Roger Williams (1603-1683) is buried. View to the southwest.



Benefit Street, looking north.



The "Shunned House," view to the northeast.



A house on Benefit Street, undergoing restoration. View to the west.



The Providence River from the Point Street Bridge, looking northeast, towards College Hill.



Again, from the Point Street Bridge, but looking southeast towards the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier and the bay, beyond.

Photographs Copyright © 2008 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac.

Comments

( 8 comments — Have your say! )
sovay
Dec. 21st, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
The river was like slate, and the waves seemed more like chips in stone. The old wharf that, in the summer, is usually covered with gulls and cormorants, was buried in snow and ice. And that clay sky above it all.

That's as beautiful as your photographs.

Happy solstice to you, too.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 21st, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)

That's as beautiful as your photographs.

I really did become fascinated with the texture of the river yesterday, standing there above it.
mamatimes3
Dec. 21st, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, it's beautiful there. All the old houses and buildings, blanketed like that.

My neighborhood has nothing pre-1960 in it. It's beautiful here, but nothing like Providence!
greygirlbeast
Dec. 21st, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)

Oh, it's beautiful there. All the old houses and buildings, blanketed like that.

It really is quite amazing.
stardustgirl
Dec. 21st, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
I want the house on the right in the top photo.


And a wealthy benefactor to foot the heating bills for it. :P

A happy solstice to you and Spooky.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 21st, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
I want the house on the right in the top photo.


And a wealthy benefactor to foot the heating bills for it. :P


That makes two of us.

Edited at 2008-12-21 09:06 pm (UTC)
alvyarin
Dec. 22nd, 2008 09:00 pm (UTC)
Beautiful photos. I'm always amazed to see cars driving in snow, since here in Texas we all hole up the moment the roads look icy. Actually, the moment the temperature goes below 50 degrees would be more accurate.

I think you have probably said before, but I don't remember - what is the Shunned House now? Dormitories?

amandabynight
Dec. 23rd, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the Bradbury thing. That's so awesome!

I love where you live. It looks like something you'd see in that movive Ghost Story. Not that you should see Ghost Story really. Well, maybe! :)
( 8 comments — Have your say! )