Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wind in Dry Grass

It has been unusually cold in the mountains the last few weeks. The kind of cold where your face freezes solid within moments of stepping outside, and you stop being able to feel, well, anything. In fact, you stop being able to think, speak, or even sniffle.

If you've ever seen the wonderful movie, "Biloxi Blues" with Matthew Broderick, you may remember the scene of "It's like Africa hot." If not, you may view just that snippet here.

And the contrarian that I am, I have been obsessed with that quote during this time.... "It never got this cold in DC (my hometown).... It's like Antarctica cold.... Polar bears couldn't take this kind of cold."

If you're curious exactly how cold it is to be so cold that Polar bears couldn't take it, well..... We're talking highs in the single digits (if I was lucky) and lows in the double digits -- the negative double digits. And of course I'm not even including wind chill, because that would just make you weep ....

But don't cry for me Argentina (Patti is always the best)....because I have something new to help keep me warm:
Ummmm.... Yes?
Yup, that purty little thang has joined my family....

Welcome "Hollow".

She's a dog I adopted from the Humane Society of the next county over. They guesstimated that she was a husky, and around 2 years old. Friends have mentioned she could be an American Indian dog too -- a breed I had never heard of previously, but certainly could be possible. Either way, my vet says she's certainly older than a year, but definitely younger than two years old.

And that's about all I know!

Well, besides the fact that she's sweet, very strong (both physically and in her will!), and quite a wanderer. Yet she does seem to have already figured out to check in with "mom" (at least occasionally), and that the cabin is pretty damn good home.
Can't you see I'm trying to sleep here?
She's also figured out that she adores her brother, though is constantly beating up on him too -- especially since they are clearly still working out "alpha" among the two of them.

Of course, the scrapper that Rilke is, he's been fighting back toe to toe -- or paw to paw. Here, he's holding his own in a "fight" over a stick....
Leashed version....

Off leash version....

Even more cute? Rilke used to be a huge wanderer, and now he tends to stick closer to me during walks, and look worriedly for Hollow when she disappears for too long....
Which way did she go...?
You can't really see Hollow, but she is actually down the hill where Rilke is staring....

Of course, I must admit that most people have questioned my choice of the name "Hollow".

It is also in honor of my mother, the late artist Karen Laub-Novak. One of her other favorite poets was T.S. Eliot, and she did a beautiful series of prints on his poem "Ash Wednesday", images of which you can find on her Facebook Fan page. She and I both adored Eliot, and both were deeply moved by another of his poems, "The Hollow Men". As usual, that's another profound and complicated poem, with a number of meanings. It is haunting read aloud, and just as haunting simply read.... But it has always resonated with me, and with my mother.

I personally always especially loved the first stanza:
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
Deep, sad, depressing, powerful, moving.... It is hard to explain. And so while I realize the word "hollow" might mean empty -- there is a great deal of meaning to me when I say that word, and when I think of this poem....

If her name at all makes others want to learn more about this poem, about TS Eliot, or even about my mother, than I figure that just adds to the meaning and depth of her name....

In the meantime, it is actually very lyrical to be calling "Hollllllllllllllllllll-low" "Hollllllllllllllllll-low" when she has disappeared for too long.

And of course, she and Rilke also do a great job of keeping me warm on cold nights, and make very good pillows.....
Just waiting for you.....
Just insert me in the corner there, between the two of them, under that beautiful green blanket knitted by my amazing Aunt Annie....

And so our little family is quite cozy, despite the ridiculous cold spell.....


  1. Those are very adorable companions. There isn't a better environment for them to run around and play all day.
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  2. Are those fig or pine trees? It's hard to distinguish. Anyway, your pets look so adorable.

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