The cardinal, for one, content to go about his business. The fox, for another, at ease for the moment in his auburn jacket. The groundhog, wisely putting off her errands until March, depending on the weather. The soft gaze of the doe regarding me, seeming for a brief moment to consider me as something vaguely interesting.
The frozen arteries of streams drawing lines to the lake that is the heart of this place. A cascade of water stopped dead in its tracks by a change in molecular structure. Snow turning almost blue just after the sun slips behind a hill to the west, like that framed photograph of Sweden in the doctor’s office waiting room, its top edge dusted once a month to the lonesome sound of an occasional cough, the next name called exactly as the last name was, a clean copy of how all names will be called for the rest of the day, week, year, barring any unforeseen shift in the ratio of consonants to vowels.
Standing beneath spruce boughs watching snow descend, unhurried, like bits of ash or feather. Standing in close to the heart of the tree while wind sways the limbs, as if you were sailing an evergreen ship, charting an imaginary course to Nova Scotia, then on up into Iceland and even Norway.
Another storm warning issued, another mug of hot liquid slurped, welcomed into a body cocooned in fabric layers, some woven by hand, some by machine, another silent Hallelujah expressed. An obsession with time and temperature, forecast and calendar, and with saying we know the new year will be a great one – this last among so many other unfounded claims, clothed in a strangely American propensity to keep one’s chin up.