The wind is howling outside this morning — a morning that dawned slow and grey although it looks like the sun might try to peek through sometime later. Drifts are piling up — all that lovely, sparkly, dry snow that has fallen in the last week or so is swirling into strange shapes.
I love winter here. Summer I spend outside in the garden, driven out into the yard from the time I wake up until it’s finally time to shut down the kerosene lantern hanging from the apple branch and go inside to bed. But winter has a different appeal. Winter is quiet. Winter is the time to retreat to my cozy, cluttered basement writing office and get back to work making sentences. In winter, retreat feels normal, going to ground like some hibernating animal, reaching back inside to see if I can find the words to tell the story I want to tell.
Is it my grandmother’s voice that drives me outdoors all summer? She’d find me reading in the far corner of my Aunt Lynn’s living room, inside on a bright summer day. “Go outside,” she’d scold, pulling the book out of my hands. “It’s a beautiful day, what are you doing in here?” So summertime I feel compelled — outside, into the garden, onto the trails, into the backyards of my friends where we grill and chat and watch the kids play on the swingset.
This week between Christmas and New Year has always been one of my favorites. The excitement of the holiday is over, but there are new toys to play with (my new TiVo box that streams movies from Netflix) and when I was little, every year, there was a new diary, with a tiny lock. A whole new year of blank pages stretching ahead of my. The promise of a new start in this week that feels like a general pause, a moment when we all take a deep breath, putter around in our new slippers and eat leftovers from our lovely festive holiday. I’m looking at a baggie full of lovely leftover beef and I’m thinking shepherd’s pie. Something warm and beefy cooking in my kitchen while the wind blows snow in swirls and I try to bring my moribund novel back to life once more.