By Han Shan
Translated by David Hinton
The cold in these mountains is ferocious,
has been every year since the beginning.
Crowded peaks locked in perennial snows,
recluse-dark forests breathing out mists,
grasses never sprout before the solstice
and leaves start falling in early August.
This confusion includes a lost guest now,
searching, searching—no sky to be seen.
Strange sense of momentum heading into the end of the year. Went out to lunch with juleskicks, who was driving up in my direction so I didn't feel so badly about subjecting her to my near-inability to speak (she might have been relieved not to have me talking too much for once, though, hee!) Spent the afternoon reviewing "Who Mourns For Adonais?", an episode about which it's rather hard to think of nice things to say; it doesn't suck as royally as "And the Children Shall Lead" or "That Which Survives," but as a result it's not hilarious in its badness and not as fun to skewer. Had dinner with my parents, who gave us and the kids Chanukah presents a night early; they had offered us some money toward our new TV before we bought it, so I knew we weren't getting surprises, and the kids had both put in requests: older son got the seventh season of The Simpsons on DVD, younger son got a giant stuffed penguin that he desperately wanted and which he has named "Snapey Penguini" (I solemnly swear that this is not my fault, and incidentally, he has occasionally looked over my shoulder when I was IMing and now says he is naming his next penguin "Ida Bastet," which is what he believes ldybastet's name to be).
There was an episode of Battlefield Detectives on the History Channel, "The War of 1812: the Chesapeake and the Shannon," that I started watching while doing the dishes and in which I became totally engrossed, so I came home with a craving and put on Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which I have not seen on our new TV. The entire family sat down and watched, even though the kids have seen this film about eight times and they have been known to wander upstairs, downstairs, into the kitchen, etc. even while watching things they ostensibly adore like new SpongeBob or Fairly Odd Parents, and even though apaulled had wanted to watch some Christmas special and was downloading stuff and baking Christmas cookies for his parents. One of the great pleasures of letting entire weeks go by where I forget how much I love Master and Commander is that when I finally watch it, it hits me all over again. Am thinking that when I finish the book I'm reading right now, I'm going to say screw it to the pile I have waiting and pick up with HMS Surprise again because I simply have not enjoyed reading anything as much as O'Brian probably since my first swing through Narnia.
Son requested that I feature his penguins, so here they are. He also requested that I make a "penguins" tag, so here it is.
Tomorrow early we are driving to Pennsylvania. I am not entirely sure what we will be doing, other than that we are having dinner at Red Lobster tomorrow and my parents are coming up for dinner Sunday. If the weather is as warm as it was here today, I will try to drag everyone someplace outdoors on Christmas. It feels very strange not to have Chanukah starting before Christmas.