Three crows wick powder from the throat of a fat maple. January ground looks like a Rorschach, swatches of earth against swatches of snow. We had a bit of a thaw, a week or so with flurries and squalls but not much accumulation. It’s rare to see the ground at this time of year, but the occasional patch of green makes me happy. The green feels like a promise, an implied guarantee that winter will, eventually, end. It’s a reminder that’s welcome on a day like this when, despite the sunshine and the glimpses of hard ground, the temperature stalls below zero. I write wearing gloves and a scarf, a bulky jacket. We keep the wood stove stocked, burn level set at ROAR; periodically throughout the morning it’s necessary to go stand right next to it in order to warm up. For backup I’ve got a little space heater in my study that sits at ankle level. My feet are encased in boots made of sheepskin and suede but the heat wafts up and keeps my legs warm. It’s a lazy day in the heart of winter, and I can’t help but think of the beautiful title of the last novel I read: Let the Great World Spin. I sit and stare out the window, watch the crows and the shivering trees. Wood pops and shifts in the stove. My cat curls a paw over her eyes, a casual defense against the confrontation of sunlight. I drink it in, thirsty for light at this time of year. Even in the middle of the night, I stand and watch the wolf moon as it glazes the sky, feel the glow on my skin, watch shadows drift across the kitchen floor.
Let the great world spin… It’s cold out there, but time and again we find our way to warmth.