degrees for the high today. In our house, where there's no
insulation, the cold finds a way in through the cracks in the walls
and around the windows. We learned quickly, this year, to dress in
layers. To wear scarves inside. To gather in one room, beneath quilts
and comforters, waiting for the space heater to work its magic.
cranky and irritated, cooped up, all of us, in one room with two
energetic dogs and a cat. We need to get out.
We bundle up in hats,
scarves, boots and gloves; clip a leash on one of the dogs; and head
for the woods.
Our breath comes out in great puffs. Our feet crunch the frozen ground. We can hear the stillness of the world as it quiets. Ahead of us is a man without a hat, his three dogs darting through the trees, barking and
yipping, zipping towards us before veering away again. Besides him,
besides us, the woods are empty.
mud puddles are filled with water and frozen over with ice so thick I
can't break it. But the water in the creek still flows.
We cross, careful not to get our boots wet, and climb up the
water at the reservoir ripples in the wind, wind that tears at our
faces and fingertips. The sky begins to spit snow.
Christmas decorations are starting to go up: White lights adorn the
trees. Wreaths are on the light poles. Trees are displayed in
storefront windows. Homemade ribbon candy is for sale at
twenty dollars a pound: Lemon, cinnamon, peppermint. I make a note
to pick some up before it's sold out.
reach the coffee shop. I wait outside with the dog.
man approaches. "What breed?"
nods in approval. "All of my dogs have been used."
move on to the feral cats who've adopted him, the stray who decided to
adopt us. We stamp our feet to warm them.
daughter and husband emerge with steaming cups of coffee. The man
bids me goodbye. We walk the mile back home.
house is warm and cozy.
finish our coffee and I begin making shortbread cookies.
I stand at the window rolling out dough, Grey Cat appears at the kitchen window and meows. He watches me for twenty minutes or so before
wandering off in search of mice.
I'm finished baking, I set out a bit of cream for him, so he can put on a layer of winter fat.
a stubborn cat and refuses to come inside to the warmth.
Kelly Garriott Waite on Google+
Labels: Creative non-fiction, essay, winter