Hell (and Atlanta) Hath Frozen Over (Mmm… Marginalia #91)

For the second day in a row, I find a two-inch blanket of ice prevents me from getting the car out of the driveway,* and it looks like it’ll be that way for at least another few days yet, so I figure with all this enforced downtime I really ought to get on with my weekly marginal image post.

This week’s image is found in an early sixteenth-century Flemish Book of Hours**, and it pretty well encapsulates the main reason we waited until after we’d moved to the South to get a dog:

You still have to walk the dog when it snows, no matter how much you’d rather be inside the warm cottage sewing.*** But because it’s snowing, the dog would rather happily trot-trot-trot and sniff-sniff-sniff than, you know, take care of business.  OK, so maybe my own personal circumstances are coloring my reading here, but I can literally**** think of no other explanation for why the dog seems so happy and the nearby person so full of nervous trepidation.

As this slightly-chilled dog owner can attest, familial duty cannot be shirked, even when it’s the canine part of the family, lest you end up in Cocytus, the frozen lake where Dante tells us are punished all those who sin against their own families:

So if you’ll excuse me, the insistent sound of paw on patio glass informs me that I have a sacred duty to attend to. *****

  1. * Fun fact: Atlanta is the 33rd largest city in America and spread out over one of the largest metro areas, but† has only 11 snow plows.
    † Not that I think they should buy more to cope with the once-a-decade significant snowfall we get, just trying to head off the “oh, poor Southerners can’t deal with a little snow” that’s sure to come my way. []
  2. ** British Library MS Egerton 1147 []
  3. *** OK, maybe not literally sewing. Metaphorically sewing. (Which is less like sewing and more like getting caught up on True Blood while puttering about on the Internet.) [On further reflection, I don’t think that lady is sewing at all, which may mean that she is metaphorically sewing, and how cool would that be?  An image pre-meta’d!] []
  4. **** Metaphorically literally, of course, not literally literally. []
  5. ***** Or if you’d prefer,†† a sacred duty to which I must attend.
    ††But if you’d really prefer that, you’re going to find yourself disappointed a lot around here. Or worse. []

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://theloopweaver.blogspot.com Anna in New York

    I’d ask if we could borrow a few of those 11 snow plows, but both our impending snow and the major snow dump we had last month came by way of you guys.

  • Dawson in Sunny South Dakota

    I don’t think the person with the dog is nervous. I think she is blowing on her finger tips to try to warm them up.

    • http://www.gotmedieval.com/ Got Medieval

      A reasonable interpretation for those who have not just returned from frozen dog-walking, I suppose, but I don’t buy her right hand’s placement if that’s the case. I always move my head from side to side when I blow on my fingers, not my hands. Doesn’t everyone?

      • Christine from Germany (no snow, but no sun either here)

        I usually blow on one hand to warm it, than blow on the other hand, then blow on the first hand… and so on. Makes at least as much sense to me as does your way of doing it.

  • http://harrietmay.com Harriet May

    You mean she’s not attached to her cell phone? Just kidding. I am in Charlotte, where yesterday’s snow has frozen solid, and my dog cannot bring herself to do her business while she’s slipping and sliding about. I can imagine it’s rather an odd sensation, and no picnic for me, either!

    • http://www.gotmedieval.com/ Got Medieval

      Yes! She is definitely talking on a cell phone!! No doubt about it. Now Twitter that around a bit and I’m sure Gizmodo’ll come calling again, if not Gawker!

  • Mel

    The lady indoors appears to be spinning flax. The…thingy that probably has a technical term with the flax…is next to her right hand.

  • Mel

    Technical thingy = distaff!

    • http://www.gotmedieval.com/ Got Medieval

      Yes, definitely a distaff. The image immediately resolves when you realize the gray thing in her right hand is attached to the pole there behind her.

  • nanina

    I guess my glasses are useless. I thought she was playing an (a?…Help language log!) harmonica; something I may take up while Madam Lasagna rolls around in the snow with temps hovering near 25 F.

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  • Andrea

    Many sympathies from down here in icy Alabama!

  • http://mymedievallife.wordpress.com/ Rachel

    Perhaps the damage to the wattle and daub right next to the door is due to the dog not wanting to go very far and peeing in the one spot every day

  • Christine from Germany (no snow, but no sun either here)

    Apart from the cool picture, there’s another great thing which (I think) came with the move: if you hover the mouse over the link to a footnote, the text of the footnote appears as a tooltip. That prevents me from doing more clicking or scrolling. 🙂

  • MPK

    Just came back from an hour and a half of dog walking in 4 inches of snow. We go out to the dog park every day in the winter. I think the dogs like winter even better than summer. Dress right and stay out of the wind if possible and it is a great time to be outdoors.

    If my experience is any guide the woman is thinking, “Oh Bowser, you just crapped on the neighbor’s sidewalk and I don’t have a bag to pick it up!”

  • http://dweomera.blogspot.com lagomorph_Rex

    You are repeating yourself, Atlanta is Hell.

    I managed to survive the nearly 9 inches which Athens was subjected too.. but only just.. I’m certainly not looking forward to the threatened replay which is possibly heading our way. That is however a very interesting fact about the city only having 11 plows.

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