December Skies Are Often Grey

It’s been a dreich day. Grey, wet, snowy – but not sticking snow, wet instantly melting snow. The dogs hated going out in it, we weren’t particularly excited about the prospect either.

So this morning’s tea from Germany, a Royal Flush Darjeeling was a welcome treat. Just the thing for wet, wintry weather. We didn’t bother with milk this time, though this was strong enough it probably would have weathered it fine. It made for a heart breakfast blend; robust, hearty, a few floral hints but fewer than the Darjeeling of the other day.

Later we risked a walk, and it wasn’t miserable, but it was definitely wet. Buffy has s trick she pulls wherein she limps if the weather disagrees with her, and she did thar lots today. It was getting dark by then so we called it a day’s early and I made up the DavidsTea blend.

It was North African Mint, and there’s not much to say about this one. It’s very minty…not that you’d guess. That’s really all there is to it. Pure, undiluted mint. Think After Eight in a cup if there was no chocolate and more mint. Now we are mint lovers, which not everyone is, so this was a hit. But we do often wonder whenever a calendar yields up these mint varieties if we aren’t supposed to brew them and serve them iced. We’re pretty sure that’s how Muriel Spark says to do it in The Mandelbaum Gate. But Spark’s book is set in a stifling Israel summer, not dreich, soggy Ontario. Frankly we dare anyone sane to drink iced tea on a day like this. We’ve saved a bit for the summer though, just in case, because cool mint can be lovely.

Here’s a poem for this grey, dark evening, with thanks to the fellow Ffordian (that’s a Jasper Fforde Devotee for those at home) who found it. Little did she realise posting it yesterday that by sheer, happy accident it would be perfect for today.

by Gregory Djanikian

There’s something to be said for banality,
the way it keeps everything on a level plane,
one cliché blithely following another
like cows heading toward the pasture.

How lovely sometimes not to think
about Russian Futurism, or the second law
of thermodynamics, or how thinking itself
requires some thoughtfulness.

I’d like to ask if Machiavelli
ever owned a dog named “Prince.”
I’d like to imagine Rosalind Franklin
lounging pleasantly by a wood stove.

Let the mind take a holiday,
the body put its slippers on.
It’s a beautiful day, says the banal,
and today, I’m happy to agree
with its genial locutions.

Woof, woof, goes the neighbor’s dog.
The sun is pouring in through the window,
heating up the parlor, the blue sky is so blue,
and the cumulous clouds are looking very cumulous.

I’m all for reading a murder mystery,
something with flair but forgettable.
Or some novelette whose hero’s name
is Hawk or Kestrel, a raptor bird
soaring above his ravished love.

I’m lying on the couch with easy puzzles.
I’m playing a song that has no accidentals.
Life’s but a dream, comme ci, comme ça.
No doubt, tomorrow I’ll be famished
for what’s occult and perilous,
all those knots in the brain,
all the words that are hard to crack.

Today, I’m floating like a feather,
call me Falcon, look me up
in the field guide under Blissful,
Empty-headed, under everything
that loves what it does today,
and requires no explanation.

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