Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cold in the Woods

A month or so ago, Karina put a cast iron pot out on the deck. I'm not sure why, but that's beside the point. A few weeks ago it filled up with rainwater. And there it's been sitting ever since.

Yesterday I walked out onto the deck to discover the water in the cast iron pot had frozen solid. All the way from top to bottom. And that the kids' red wagon, also filled with rainwater, was frozen solid. Even the driveway is frozen in that way that makes it say 'crunch, crunch' as you walk over it.

A few days ago I was splitting some firewood, and found a large termite queen - a thumb-sized grub. After showing it to the family, I left it on top of a log, thinking a bird might come along and appreciate a free lunch. That grub is now frozen solid. Sort of a grub-sicle, if you were a bird.

It's cold out here in the woods. Too cold to get to that yard work, the final clean-up of the garden, the chopping up of the tree we pulled up from the gully last month. Nights are cold, in spite of the roaring fire I build in the wood stove, and the electric blankets. I took Pepe out for his nightly business on Monday night and had to run back inside, as that piercing wind cut right through my winter pajamas.

It's cold here in the woods. Although the sky is clear, a piercing blue; the stars are certainly twinkling at night. The cold is beautiful in its own austere way. I'm not complaining. The stark winter beauty is a magical opposition to the extravagance of summer that surrounded us such a short time ago. I can finally see the holly tree, loaded with bright red berries, a reminder that Christmas is upon us. We all snuggle more closely together, thankful for the warmth of proximity.

But it is cold. With predicted snow by the weekend, possibly. And it seems awfully sudden. Fall just sort of came and went, and now the deep-freeze of winter is at hand, for a month or two or three. In two weeks we'll reach that equinox, that 'longest night of the year,' and then we'll be back on the downside to spring, and summer beyond.

It all comes too quickly. So, for now, I'm simply going to put on that scarf and those gloves, and enjoy the cold. So long as I have my cup of coffee, I'm good to go.

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