Friday, February 28, 2014

Digging myself out

This morning I stood by the front door of my home and pressed my forehead to the icy glass. Soon I felt winter air blowing through the mail slot, chapping my shins. I grabbed a pillow from the couch and pushed it against the door to block the draft.

9 degrees outside. 9 miserable little degrees. Powerless to melt the disgusting, foot-high mass of cigarette butts, candy wrappers, dog piss, gray ice, and shards of broken concrete lining my sidewalk. Worse, weather forecasters have predicted we will be reburied in snow on Sunday or  Monday.

Anxiety and disappointment set in. It's hard to believe more than 3 weeks have passed since I last posted to this blog. No research finds, so, nothing to say.

Those weeks were an interminable amount of time that somehow passed so quickly. In February, I had hoped to finish my research at Harrisburg and Reading, then begin and complete site visits to Easton, Hershey, and West Chester. Little of this happened. Reading is done. And then, I found out that the Bosler Memorial Library in Carlisle, just across the river in Cumberland County, has a new director. So I made a snap decision to include it as a new site in my project. I finished my work there, too. In addition, I went through the final boxes of the State YMCA archives, uncovering a lot about the the history of subscription libraries founded by local chapters of that organization. I also used the Newspaper Archives database to fill in gaps for Connellsville, a site I'd visited in October. But Harrisburg and West Chester remain half-done; Easton and Hershey never begun. Deep down is the guilt that I allowed constant, frigid cold to sap my motivation on some days that I could have traveled farther.

Food is comfort. I sauntered to the kitchen for a snack. It being the end of the month, I didn't have much to choose from. At the bottom of the produce bin, I found a lonely tangerine. I scored its rind with my thumbnail and immediately the smell of tangy citrus tickled my jaw and nose. It's hard to feel depressed when you are holding an bright orange reminder of Sunny Florida in the palm of your hand. You can't help but think of sandy beaches, short sleeves, and grilling out back. The tangerine's sweet, tart juice was just the energy boost I needed.

Tangerines. Photo courtesy of
This is the last day of February, and whether or not the weather cooperates, my winter must end now. I have 2 months left on sabbatical. Sunday, I am going to try to head out to New Castle and Sharon. I switched my lodgings from Moraine State Park to a Days Inn somewhere in Ohio. I stowed a shovel and extra blankets in my trunk. I am determined to get there come hell, high water, or high snow.

I bought a bag of tangerines for the trip, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment