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Day of the Sparrow

Preparing for Winter

Preparing for Winter

I went to California for a week, and when I returned, winter was here. Not deep winter, but introductory winter: the vestibule of winter. The leaves were off the trees, except for the small willow behind my house, whose leaves clung on like bedraggled confetti—the same confetti I saw on the streets of San Francisco, at the parade for the Giants’ winning the World Series.

I need a winter plan, I told myself. I thought back to previous hibernal projects. Three years ago I had a tea-drinking ritual. Somehow, my wife and I accumulate boxes of herbal tea that we never drink. In the winter, when it’s cold, is a perfect time to ritualize tea brewing. The idea is to use one teabag a day, until each box is empty.

My first tea, I decided, would be EveryDay Detox. I’d just been on Delta Airlines, watching Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer at 30,000 feet, while an overworked stewardess poured me orange juice from a can. That’s a lot of toxicity, all in one moment!

Sitting in the kitchen, I sipped my tea. It tasted like old socks. I sipped it again; its taste was complexly welcoming. Perhaps the first sip destroys enough toxins for you to appreciate the second sip. My American travels were getting neutralized, like a videotape being erased.

I flew into New York City on Wednesday, when all the subways were closed, from Hurricane Sandy. Me and a pickle maker named Chris Forbes* wandered through the JFK Airport parking lots, searching for a cheap way home. We were about to take the bus to Jamaica Center, in case the subways were running, when an African-American bus driver warned us: “People are looting and rioting in the streets. I don’t want you to be the only two white guys in a black neighborhood!”

I sipped some more of the life-affirming beverage. Three benefits at once: 1) warmth, 2) the thrifty use of old tea, 3) “significant liver protection action.”**

*Sour Puss Pickles
**I’m quoting from the EveryDay Detox box.

Sparrow lives in a double-wide trailer in Phoenicia, N.Y., with his wife, Violet Snow. He often writes for Ground Report. Sparrow has run for President of the United States five times. More by Sparrow