A Grey Day in February
This morning I peered out my kitchen window through the steam of my second cup of hot coffee at a grey garden overhung with a sky the colour of steel. It is February now, the pinnacle of winter’s reign, with the festivities of December forgotten and a lemon-lime spring still a long way away. It is that time of year when the landscape becomes a grisaille painting, all tree bark, dead leaf and frost, punctuated by the bony fingered hands of the hydrangeas forever reaching up towards the low-hanging clouds. A long wintry walk with Edward notwithstanding, I know the pleasures of February are best found indoors, so I set about busying myself with some of my favourite wintertime tasks. I kneaded bread, I baked a cake. I knit the final stitches on a sweater the colour of lilacs. I listened to an English mystery.
And on this grey day as I worked contentedly away at these most quotidian of activities, the wonderful actor, and one of my personal favourites, Philip Seymour Hoffman, was eulogized at a funeral service in New York. I’m not quite sure why his death has felt so unspeakably sad to me this week. He was a rare talent, to be sure; anyone who has seen one of his performances could easily say that. He had the ability to disappear into wildly divergent characters in performances that aided us all in better understanding of what it means to be human. He was only forty-six, much too young, with three small children who need their father and who will miss him terribly. And death found him through drugs, which is always tragic beyond measure. I have never understood nor experienced addiction and can only imagine the horrific struggles he was evidently enduring in this, the grey time of year. Reportedly sober for over twenty years, it seems even sadder that he slipped into the abyss after so long in the light.
As my quiet rooms filled with the sweet aroma of baking bread and chocolate, I stood looking out at that grey sky, now tinged with the pale pink of a setting sun, and said a prayer for the family of a man I did not know. I thought of those whose views are always grey, no matter the weather outside; those who cannot manage to climb out of a dark place despite their longing to do so. I said a prayer for them, too.
I shall miss Philip Seymour Hoffman and the performances that could have been,
even as I’m grateful for what he left us.
One of my favourite scenes from Doubt....