Saturday, February 22, 2014

Compressing the 4th Season

You probably know that in just two weeks we'll be turning the clocks forward yet again, "making" the mornings dark again just as they were getting light about the time I get up, and "making" the evenings much lighter longer so that I can sit in my teevee chair and watch the light slowly fade, because damn if I feel like choppin' wood or running the leaf blower or changing the oil or climbing on the roof or and so forth after I've been standing on concrete for eight hours at my job. Yesterday someone at work said that "farmers hate daylight savings time because they can't get out into the fields." I didn't understand that at all--I'd always thought farmers pretty much lived by the light. Who knows.

Last week we were covered with 9 inches of snow, and I was walking up the hill through the woods to where I'd parked the truck, on the other side of the hill we can't drive up when there's snow on the driveway. I said "driveway." I meant "logging road." We had, for a couple of weeks, something approaching a northern winter. Maybe not really seriously northern, as my friend from Three Dog blog would describe it. But kinda. There was no ice fog, which is the real serious physics definition of northern weather. That's the point where water crystals in the air turn to ice. I have experienced ice fog once, a morning in Calgary as we were driving to the airport to head south. It was crisp. But what happens down here is, we just get these every-few-years kisses of "real" winter. Even in the middle of it, when the wood's shrinking down, our non-lizard brain doesn't lose it entirely. This will pass, cricket, it says to us. And so it came to pass.

I got home from work yesterday and noticed that the tin had blown off the far wood pile. There had been a very strong front passing through during the day, with heavy wind and rain. By late afternoon the sky was showing blue in the west--"the weekend's coming" I pointed to my office mate. But I went out to straighten up the pile, get the tin back on top of it and so forth, and when I came back in I'd apparently brought another harbinger of spring, cause this morning there was a deer tick dining on me. When I finish this I'm heading out to buy some wood so I can build a floor for our "shed in a box," which is a tent to store stuff in. I'll need to find the tick repellant too, as I'll be standing in the leaves to do the work. I hope I'll get significant progress today on this task, as Daytona is tomorrow. That's another harbinger.

"The King," that would be Richard Petty, from Level Cross, NC, just up the road, said this week that Danica Patrick would never win a race and was only in the field cause she was a purtty little thang and was good for bidness, her'n and NASCAR's. It reminded me of a bet that a guy I laid bricks and block with back in '86 had with the whole crew and, for that matter, the world. "Richard Petty will never win another race" he said. This was in fact after Richard's last win, although Richard was still running then. It was before Richard ran for I think it was Lieutenant Governor of NC on the Republican ticket. He was doing pretty good too, until one day on I-85 up near Level Cross he tapped a guy in front of him for going too slow. A week or two later he had to drop out of the race. You can look it up.

Richard has of course got a lot of flack for saying that about Danica. Tony Stewart has tossed some high test onto the fire by suggesting that Danica have a match race with the King. What in the world Danica could possibly win in that set up I don't know, and Tony Stewart ought to think before he runs his mouth, as should Richard for that matter. As many have pointed out, The King is 76 these days. But I really did like The King's complaint about the coverage. "I'm not sexist," he said. "I've been married to the same woman for 55 years."

They are all race car drivers, when you get down to it. To be good at it, you'd best start when you're a kid. Danica did. So did Richard. So did Tony. So did Jimmie. So did Dale, and Dale Jr. You only got so much time. If you're good at driving a stock car or an Indy car, pretty much you don't have time to learn about high flown concepts like the special theory of relativity, or the method of carbon-dating, or the social analysis of "sexism" and "racism." Go watch "Senna." As Jimmie says, best racing movie ever made. You can see the end on youtube if you want. Look it up. It's February 22nd here in NC, but damn! Spring is here. Daytona is tomorrow. Hopefully nobody gets killed.


  1. Four degrees right now. No warmup for the next two weeks, they say. Lows way below zero again. Snow so deep in the back yard that Rosie could just step right over the top of the fence if she thought about it. Here's hoping she doesn't think about it. Northern winters are overrated.

  2. No deer ticks though, to paraphrase the singing Wobblie, Utah Phillips. By the way, I meant to say above that ice fog occurs where celcius and farenheit cross paths on their way to absolute zero. I know that because I didn't work on driving a race car every living breathing moment.