Sunday, March 24, 2013

Carrots and sticks

photo of deer trail in the snow
© harrington
Welcome. Thanks for dropping in. Have you noticed that, in late Winter, too many trails seem all uphill? Several days ago, harsh, March winds had scoured the snow layers, leaving ridges in the snowcover. Warm days with some sun have now softened those ridges as they began melting the snowbanks. This deer trail leads into a ridgeline thicket, in which and behind which the wind is sapped of much of its ability to steal warmth. Yesterday, sitting out of the weather in my warm reading room, I finished working through a flash non-fiction piece that really made me think. As you may know, the Inuit have many words for snow. I had always assumed, being the Caucasian, Anglo-Saxon, meat-and-potatoes type that I am, that, unlike snow to the Inuits, a carrot was a carrot was a carrot. (Perhaps my mother, when pregnant with me, had been frightened by Gertrude Stein.) It turns out there is a multitude of carrot types and varieties. What intrigues and encourages me is that I learned about this not in an organic gardening or local foods book, but in a book on how to write flash nonfiction. Now, I admit, this isn't the most efficient way to learn, but it may be more effective. I'm much more likely to remember there is a variety of carrots because I discovered it in an unexpected encounter. I'm also more likely now to look for varieties to see if they actually taste different. It seems to me that one of the challenges in (of?) life is finding a reasonable balance between the comfort of the familiar and the excitement of the new. (When I was younger, the comfort of the familiar was practically nonexistent.) I suspect, if I tell my wife that I'm looking for a variety of carrots, she's going to wonder about the aliens that kidnapped her meat-and-potatoes husband and substituted someone willing to consider veggies. This should add to the excitement of the new in her life. Thanks for listening. Stop by again. Rants, reflections and raves served daily in My Minnesota.