We’re nearly at midwinter, the turning-around point of early February. The ice is hard; there’s snow; the light returns, an extra dipperful of it each day.
There’s that Currier & Ives vision of midwinter, nestled deep in fluffy snow that I’ve experienced in a few flashes. This year, unease eats us all around the edges, in strange kinds of ways. A shortage of kitty litter in the supermarket. What does that mean? Maybe nothing worth thinking about at all.
I buy a gallon of paint at the local hardware store. The young man who mixes it went to high school with my daughter. He puts the paint to shake, and I wait and wait in my winter coat and my knitted hat. I remember the first summer I canned so much from my garden and the endless jars I bought here — invested in, really — so many mason jars. High on a storage shelf above my head are those boxes of Ball jars, waiting for tomatoes and green beans and chutney.
He reappears, his face mostly hidden behind his mask. With a key, he opens the can of newly mixed paint. For a moment, he stands there, studying it. Then he asks if that yellow is the right color. I tell him, Yes. He hammers back on the lid, then pushes the can towards me. Good luck, he says.
As I walk out, I wonder if he means good luck with the color, or the painting, or just generally. But what’s the point, really? We all could use a little good luck.