Mom’s Memories of Winter

I get emails from my mother, both poems, stories and the random piece that forces me to tell her there is a “retirement center” with her name on it.

“I remember my dad every winter morning and night going down into the basement and shoveling the coal into what I thought at the time looked like a black octopus monster living in our basement. The orange color of the fire burning in the bowels of houses was matched only by the morning susrise. Perhaps the fire was the eye of the monster. It was splendid and the steady heat coming upstairs through the downstairs register found the ceiling register showing the heat where to go. It drifted like swirling smoke into the upstairs bedrooms melting the snow that had squeezed through the cracks between the windows and sprinkled the top edge of our beds. Mom rolled big heavy woolen quilts grandma had made and built a wall around our heads for warmth. It was hard to crawl out into the well settled cold and get dressed for school. Our legs felt the same chill as we walked, books in hand the cement snow covered sidewalks. My dad liked winters pink cheeked children. There was no house that we passed that did not know us. We were young safe and happy. These were the days my friend I thought they would never end. Too bad.”

8 responses to “Mom’s Memories of Winter”

  1. …poems,memories,photos…they come from this certainty : time passes rapidly before our astonished eyes,and never comes back.
    Nobody likes that,of course.
    This is Francisco de Quevedo XVI-XVII centuries writing about the clock.(reloj,sand watches?) :
    “Deja pasar las horas sin sentirlas,
    que no quiero medirlas,
    ni que me notifiques de esa suerte
    los términos forzosos de la muerte…
    You are a poet Daniel,but you already knew that,didn´t you?
    All the best. And Time.R

    • Smogranch says:


      What is odd is that we all tell ourselves this…and we hear this reflected in those that came before us, we it is VERY difficult to actually take this into consideration on a daily basis. We have all these sayings, “You only get one chance at this.” “This isn’t practice round.” etc. Thanks for this, and thanks for keeping Spanish as a challenge in front of me. I NEED it.

  2. lionelb says:


    A different point really. Do you keep notebooks meticulously as you work and do you record the where and when, the technical or the poetic ? Will you ‘file’ them or later treasure them ?

    • Smogranch says:


      All of the above. I will make a post of my current notebook. I TRY to keep them as I work, but I can be lazy. I TRY to set time aside to have clear thoughts in regard to these books, which I feel are critical and are perhaps the most immportant records I am creating, but I also find this a challenge. My book is beside me right now, and I SHOULD be writing in it, but I’ here…now….doing this. Nothing wrong with this, I love it too.

  3. Brian Miller says:

    Dan, a lovely story from your Mom. As I care and guide my young children I often remember my youth, and I wonder what memories of their youth I will help make. I hope they are tender ones, full of feeling “young safe and happy” as your mother put it.

    Nice choice of image to accompany your Mom’s writing. I thought of that image yesterday as we drove north to Santa Fe with my sister’s family. It was made after we met for coffee that day, I think, no? I was reminded of it because we drove into SF while there was snow still on the adobe walls yesterday morning. So it was really nice to see it on your post today! 🙂


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