Monday Morning Sidewalk and Talk About Making and Breaking Routines

| December 9, 2013

The dogs tried to wake me up before I wanted to this morning, as usual. We have two old girls, and they have become more slow and predictable in the last couple of years, and that includes the eldest who has her own idea of who now serves who, and who is in charge. She’s an old black rescue dog, part border collie and part something else equally smart. She used to climb trees and ladders on command. Now she struggles to her feet, riddled with arthritis and bone spurs along her back that make her x-ray akin to something from “Aliens.” Sometimes she just stands still in the middle of the floor, in the middle of the house, as if she’s so close to the ghosts that they’re passing all around her.

Finally, I gave into their routines, and let the dogs outside, off the toasty back porch and out onto the freezing ice of our back yard. They were off like a herd of turtles chasing something around the outside of the garden fence. I waited and watched to see what would emerge from the round-and-round for nothing seeming like a NASCAR moment. By the time they came out of the third corner, the little feral neighborhood cat was jogging backwards, taunting the dogs who quit, blown engines, on the backstretch. The cat walked out through the steel rungs of the gate, still frozen shut. Routine.

We’ve been housebound for about four days now. Pointless to tempt the fate of other’s bad driving, when even a walk down the street is a slippery slide down the danger slope. This weather is routine. We get something like this every few years. It inspires weathermen to continue their careers, and it probably eliminates a few idealistic video journalists (aka. talking heads), who find themselves frostbitten, wondering just how much humiliation they are supposed to endure before they get their big break.

It really is an amazing time in which we work, a time when so many employers are so unhappy with their jobs that they actually think you should suffer equal, or greater unhappiness within their “gravitational orbit.” Heck, they’ll routinely pay good money for the privilege of power and equal distribution of suffering. They can’t stand the thought that s&^T flowing downhill would ever stop in their offices. Good money, but at some point you know … not good enough.


This old house creeks as the cold does its thing to the rock hard dried wood skeleton, the roof, walls floors and doors. Wooden floor slats that creaked a week ago now fall silent, and doors that had to be slammed now glide home. They call it “character.” I call it old, like the lines on a classmate’s face.

Leslie took the time to look around the outside of house, and made what I consider to be a brilliant deduction; where the icicles are longer, more heat’s escaping from the house. Same goes for roof areas that have thinner ice than others. I can’t help but marvel at such elegant brilliance that my wife brings to my life.

As I think about how we value houses these days, how they first become a shelter, a container of soul, and then eventually we empower them with a soul of their very own, capable of great good, great bad and great loss. We spend our lives bouncing our emotions off their walls, hollering for a sport, crying for loved ones lost in time. We can lose our houses these days quite easily, or we can sell them for an upgrade, but we may still drive by and check our yards and do a quick critique of other things better and worse. Bits of our souls are still stuck to the walls inside, no matter how ugly the new coat of paint they used to cover up.

At the new year, or in the spring, we make resolutions to cleanse, mend, rejuvenate the soul of our homes. Improve the soul without, and improve the souls within. Certainly, this year will be no different around here. It’s routine.

One good thing about the Great Ice In of 2013 is that the noise of the cars on our street, the trucks down the hill on I35, the sirens – everything – has gone silent. It’s nearly the kind of silence you get at altitude, the kind that hurts your ears. You can hear yourself breathe, your hear guts work things in bed, and you realize your heart is still beating. And maybe you realize some of your routines, some of the really old ones, need to change.

For those of you reading in Texas, I HOPE YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO ARRIVE anywhere with the priority of safety today – because it’s not safe around here! Although I know so many of us have to answer to the man, and if the man opens the office, we must abide. Be most careful. Someone died in Dallas this past weekend from a fall. Watch for ice sheets falling from roofs! It’ll be above freezing for about six hours today.

NOTE – I haven’t heard from around Texas, so I don’t know how, or if other regions were suffering from this weather that we have here. Fly fishing around here will be pointless for at least another week, and I only hope that some work, what little there is, isn’t canceled as well. We will easily have at least a new story every day as that’s about all there is to do now – write about fly fishing.

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Category: OFF TOPIC, Writing

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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