Circle of life

Circle of life

I shouldn’t be here today.

I should be listening to testimony from a jury box, attempting to determine the guilt or innocence of a fellow man.  Said man is presumed innocent until proven guilty, sayeth the law.

Fortunately or unfortunately–I shall not be determining this.  Along with a dozen or so others yours truly was ousted, sent packing, shown the courtroom door.  After intense questioning and 2 1/2 hours of jury panel seating yesterday morning, I’m a free woman once again.



I agonize over the thought of declaring someone guilty or innocent.  Too many cases exist of wrong decisions.  However (before anyone gets started with the opposite viewpoint) I am also glad to live in a society where–hopefully, sometimes–a panel of ordinary folks can assist in coming to a fair verdict.

As for tossing someone in prison without attempting to heal a dark heart, well, that’s a topic for another day.

Since I have to go to work today–no “fun” in the jury box permitted–I am going to issue a judgment.

Against this winter.

It’s guilty.

Guilty of being too hard, too long (OK, that’s biased, since it’s only January), too cold, too snowy.

Roof shoveling "fun"

Roof shoveling “fun”

Many of you know of my extreme love for the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House on the Prairie” books.  I read them six times as a kid.  Our son, poor wee Christopher, was forced to listen to Laura’s adventures–even “These Happy Golden Years” before kindergarten.  I remember him sucking his thumb whilst the Ingalls family lived in a dugout on the Banks of Plum Creek.

You all recall “The Hard Winter”, don’t you?  (Please do not even admit to NOT reading this series.  Go read right now, and then return to finish this blog.)

Back in those pioneer days of 1880-81, when the Ingalls family lived in a storefront in De Smet, South Dakota, the winter storms blew fierce and strong and life-threatening.  Children couldn’t attend school due to frigid cold, wind whipped sideways preventing navigating down the town’s main street, and the townsfolk almost starved to death when the train couldn’t get through with supplies.

OK, OK, we’re wimps these days, aren’t we?

Delivery of new firewood arrives

Delivery of new firewood arrives

We were complaining yesterday because our organic buying club delivery didn’t include our ordered avocados!  Never mind that we purchased curly kale, sweet red lettuce, mangoes from heaven-knows-where, plump portobello mushrooms, exotic orange peppers.  Where were those avocados, darn it?  Why didn’t they arrive?

We’re sighing and moaning about the endless cold, the endless stoking of the wood stove, the endless snow…but, truly, we’re not in imminent danger like the early-day pioneers. OK, somebody could fall off the roof while shoveling the massive amounts of snow.  Yes, we’re inconvenienced because we can’t always meet our friends for lunch when planned.  Roads lie slick with snow and ice.  Oh, and some days we can’t maneuver out the driveway before plowing.  Our biggest challenges, besides driving conditions and heart attack while shoveling are (a) bitching and (b) Cabin Fever.

I’m rethinking about this guilty verdict.  Is Old Man Winter really guilty?  Perhaps he is innocent.  Perhaps he’s not so bad after all.  Gosh, it’s so hard to decide.

Perhaps it’s all the way you decide to view it…

What about you?

Would you find it easy or difficult to declare someone’s guilt or innocence?  Do you think Old Man Winter is guilty this year?




About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in January 2014 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Guilty

  1. Elisa says:

    Oh Kathy!! I had to ‘run’ right down here and express my wow about your reflections image!! I wish that I could play with it!! ok back up there to continue reading…

    • Elisa says:

      ok i played with the image and i am hopping up and down in my chair waiting for approval before I put them up, or if no approval, to share with you what your work inspired…let me know yay yay yay

  2. Elisa says:

    OH, I am REALLY SUPERDUPERLY AMAZINGLY good at pronouncing ME guilty…it’s a lot like latching onto those avocados instead of…

  3. Bonnie says:

    I had the same experience, going through all the pre-jury stuff, only to be sent home, relieved I might say. As for old man winter, I guess he is just doing his thing, and today he is bringing another blizzard my way. 😦 On another note, I really like your reflections photo.

  4. We’re missing out on the avocado order too! I wonder who is guilty of this travesty. Why, oh why, didn’t the supply wagon come through?
    Sometimes a verdict of guilt or innocence is better than no fault at all, or what the legal system calls “an act of God” (isn’t everything an act of God?). You are blessed in that you didn’t have to stay and agonize over someones fate.
    So I hope you don’t find this too appauling, or find me guilty of complete ignorance, but I never read the Laura Ingals Wilder books, even though I lived quite a stretch of time in the land of Laura Ingalls Wilder. (I never read the Harry Potter series either!)
    I think Old Man winter is guilty of providing me with endless fun this winter. It’s been fun keeping track of how much snow we are getting, and I actually like the shoveling and wood hauling. It’s keeping me young and gets me out to play. Everything looks so clean and pristine when covered in a new blanket of snow.
    Just think…..the dark days of winter are behind us now. Everyday gets brighter and brighter. Things get easier.
    Until Spring that is. Endless, endless muddy messy Spring. Then we’ll have something to bitch about! lol

  5. I think that guilt and innocence are hard to define nowadays, with so many people getting away with what I consider crimes against humanity, while others find themselves in such dire circumstances that sometimes the choices don’t seem to be there. (I’m not talking about the missing avocados of course). I don’t think the winter is guilty, I think humans are.

  6. Old Man Winter is guilty of not showing up around here. He must be having too much fun at your place, Kathy!

  7. Heather says:

    I’m not sure if winter is guilty or not, but I’m sure guilty of bitching about it this year. We had a half a foot of snow in October, and we’ve not had 100% clear ground since November. It *has* been a long winter, even though it’s only 2/3 through with January.
    I’ve also been kicked out of a jury box. I’m pretty sure I was ousted for refusing to convict a person if they were allegedly guilty of violating a “stupid” law. The example the guy gave was if someone wore a yellow shirt, and yellow shirts were illegal to wear for some reason. The lawyer even argued with me, pointing out that we had other means for re-writing unjust laws. Sigh. That’s a big ol’ can of worms, and if I open it, they’ll just freeze. It’s been a long winter, ya know!

  8. That’s a whole lot of wood on that there truck! Brrrrrrr!

  9. This is certainly a winter for the books, if what we’ve had so far is any indicator! Nice post…great pictures!

  10. Carol says:

    It appears to me that wood must still be cut up and split, yes? Oh my! I would love a fireplace but I do love the convenience of having more or less heat by a simple push of a button. I served on a jury once – and was assigned a simple case. We went into the deliberations room, placed our lunch orders, reached a quick and unanimous verdict in this silly case because some idiot over-indulged in a bar and raised a ruckus, before our lunch arrived. Silly us! My cooking life by Patty and I are sharing the lack of winter in our places of residence – I am hoping that he will come to visit in February so that we won’t have to worry worry about water – which may be why no avocados if they were to come from California.

  11. lisaspiral says:

    The last several years have been relatively mild winters. This is more like the ones I remember as a child. So no, not guilty. Just a little reminder that we’re not the one’s in charge. Hope you get your shipped from the southern hemisphere avocados soon. 🙂

  12. P.j. grath says:

    Albert Camus wrote that only the dead are innocent. We live ones are more or less guilty, and guilty of some things and not others. But it should not be easy to declare someone guilty. To be just, the verdict must be carefully and deliberately arrived at. Winter? Guilty? No. The comforting thing about nature to me is that it has no motives, no desires (conflicting or otherwise), and no hate (or love). It just is. That said, the extreme cold is very wearing, on engines and pocketbooks as well as on nerves and outlook.

  13. Well, I would say that Old Man Winter is neither guilty or innocent, he is just what he is, Old Man Winter. This winter is like the series of winters that we had 40 years ago, and I try to keep in mind what the early settlers went through, but this one is still getting to me.

  14. shirley khodja says:

    OK, I sound like my grandmother here, but…I remember walking to grade school in minus-35-degree weather that lasted for over a week, with ice forming on the wool scarf wrapped around my face for protection. We walked in single rows, following trails cut by others before us, to keep from getting snow in our galoshes. We could only open the back door as wide as my father had shoveled. So, when the panic mongers announced -17 degrees during the “polar vortex” plus eight inches of snow, I was amused and quite confident of our ability to survive (what a bunch of wimps). But, Old Man Winter has set us up! For the past several years we’ve had very mild winters, which makes this one unbearable. I have to say, OMG, when will it end?!

  15. Susan D says:

    I don’t know. I just don’t know if Old Man Winter is guilty or not this year. I’m kinda mad at him because he’s usually such a fun pal for me. I don’t like it when I can’t play outside some without turning blue within minutes. I don’t like not trusting my poor car to drive to town to meet my friend for lunch; for talk. I still don’t long for hot, humid, black-fly ridden Summer, though. Hmmm

    Love the photos! Glad you were dismissed today. I’ve served on two juries. It was difficult but I learned so much, and hope we juries made the right decisions.

    I hope you have a warm rest of the day, and night, my friend.

  16. The reason you probably didn’t get your avocados is because there’s a shortage. Americans have gone on an avocado eating binge, in their normal bingeing fashion. If something is good, more is better. Prices are going up and U.S. production is trying to fill in where Mexicao and Chile leave off. Time will tell whether supply can meet the rising demand. I don’t think winter is guilty in this instance although weather has had an impact, as wildfires in CA took out a large avocado farm.

  17. It seems like this winter has been colder than usual here in TX. Tomorrow’s high is expected to be only 33 degrees, and the low 19 degrees!! That’s just too cold if there isn’t even any snow involved 😉 I’m ready for some spring flowers.

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  20. Winter hasn’t been TOO bad here, snow-wise. It’s the frigid temperatures that get us!

  21. sybil says:

    OFF WITH HIS HEAD ! (Old man winter’s, that is). We’ve had more snow and cold this year than in the previous four years combined. Don’t ask how I combine “cold”, just know it’s much colder and I do not like it. As I type this yet another blizzard is raging outside. It’s January and we’re having ANOTHER FRIKKIN’ BLIZZARD !

    I’ve never been on a jury. And would never want to be on one about a violent crime … luckily we don’t have the death penalty here, but it’s still an awesome responsibility to decide someone’s fate.

    Sorry? What was the question ?

  22. Kathy – Old Man Winter’s guilty of being entirely too generous this winter: readily handing out side-winding wind that blows cloth-cutting daggers right through our bundled layers. He’s guilty of lavishly nipping our nose, toes, and fingertips through double insulated gloves, socks, and boots; our heads cocooned in baklavas. Far from miserly, he ungrudgingly clings to our dogs coats, paws, and even makes icicles in their whiskered beards. So yes. Old Man Winter is guilty of unbridled passion as he unleashes frigid conditions as far as his ice-blue fingers can reach.

  23. john says:

    I pity the people working in hospital delivery rooms and nurseries from August to October this year.

  24. Did not read the series….what was the name?
    I served as foreman of a Grand Jury once….we indicted so he could go to trial and be meted out justice based on a jury of his peers…child abuse is difficult at best.
    I would love to sit on another grand jury…with all the government officials being brought up on charges which I have no doubt they are guilty. 🙂

    I think I answered the question. If not, then I forgot what it was. Oh yes, Old Man Winter; why I don’t know if he is guilty or not. Perhaps he came out this year and just wanted to play.

  25. Lori D says:

    Oooh, good questions today, Miss Kathy. I was called for jury duty 4 times and sat on a jury once. ACK! My insides shook every time. I despise having to decide on someone’s guilt or innocence.

    When Old Man Winters batters you so brutely, he breaths a crisp breath onto me, relieving me of a half a year enduring unbearable humidity and sweat. It’s the diablo of summer I’d like to kick to the curb. 😉

    Having written that, I was just telling my husband that I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have temps always somewhere between 32 and 72, not going above or below either. I mean, heck, that’s 40 degrees to work with. Hee, hee. Stay warm, and before you know it, this winter too, shall pass. 🙂

  26. Joanne says:

    I have a confession to make, I am guilty of finishing reading this blog post, having not read the “Little House on the Prairie” books….but in my defense, I did absolutely love watching the TV series from many years ago, with Michael Landon. Does that count? I hope so….As for deciding on a person’s innocence or guilt, I simply couldn’t do it. I couldn’t live with the thought of having put someone behind bars, taken away their freedom, only to find that years later a new piece of evidence had been discovered, proving the person’s innocence. As for your weather, from what I’ve heard, Old Man Winter is indeed guilty of freezing all residents of northern USA this winter.(Or am I just relying on hear-say? Oh dear….)

  27. dawnkinster says:

    I think Old Man Winter is just being himself…and since that’s not illegal then I guess we’ll have to acquit him. Love the reflections photo!

  28. Thank goodness you can get cord wool. How much are y’all paying per cord. Last time I bought wood it cost around 160-170 years ago- don’t remember for sure. They drove about 40 miles to our house. I had my fireplace closed up- the flue part and now have a gas Dearborn heater that puts out great heat. Floor furnace bit the dust.

    I was all but selected for a murder trial and I went up to the judge and told him that I had a bad back and that I could not sit for an extended period of time. This was true and I still have to keep moving. Long car trips are awful for me. But anyhoo, the judge excused me. I could have suffered through the case but guilty versus not guilty… well I dont know. Things stay imprinted in my brain for a life time and I would have been haunted by all that. Too much to endure besides I was working a very stressful job that took all my mental energy. It was all too much.

  29. dorannrule says:

    I just served on a jury for the first time in lo my very old life. The case was about the “misuse of farm use (license) tags.” We found the defendant guilty and fined her $75. It was all very exciting really. A small town major event. 🙂 As for Old Man Winter and Little House on the Prairie, don’t you love survival stories? And don’t feel guilty about missing those avocados…. they are touted as one of the best foods you can eat for optimum health!

  30. Dana says:

    I would be a terrible juror, Kathy. I have a hard enough time deciding what to make for dinner, let alone decreeing something as momentous as a person’s innocence or guilt. (And, by the way, winter on the west coast is totally not guilty. It’s been really amazing, sunny, and mild so far.) 😉

  31. lucindalines says:

    Oh my goodness, just this week, I was thinking of how the Ingalls family twisted hay to burn to stay warm. I was ready to go outside and find some hay because it seemed we couldn’t get warm in our house no matter what. So silly. I am relieved for the warm up today, but afraid of what might happen if it rains. Hope you stay warm with that new load of firewood.

  32. Stacy says:

    I would do my civic duty if called upon to do so, but I would find it difficult to decide a person’s innocence or guilt. As for Old Man Winter – NOT GUILTY!! Ha! (I wonder if this verdict would change were I delivering it in the UP?) ❤

  33. Sid Dunnebacke says:

    Deciding someone’s guilt or innocence just isn’t as simple as it seems on the surface. As for Old Man Winter, he’s only guilty of doing what he is supposed to do. I’M guilty for getting grumpier about his shenanigans every year as I get older, but that’s only because I have to drive in the damned snow and ice. I even pledged I would never ever again drive to Ottawa in the winter, but I’m certain I’m going to go back on that promise. Sigh.

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