Before the snow. Feeding chickadees
The snow began falling late yesterday morning. I was deep in the woods extracting a large ash I’d dropped months before but had been too busy to retrieve, moving slow because I’m sick but still enjoying the way the forest feels on the cusp of a storm. Quiet but with a gathering energy, the midday sky shades of steel. I halved the length of ash for easier extraction, choked the two halves, and drew them in with the winch. A nice, nice piece of firewood, 70-feet long if it were an inch, nearly a foot-and-half across at the base. It’d been half-dead on the stump already. All dead now.
I skidded the tree down to the house, bucked it, and the four of us set to splitting, though I ducked into the house for a time to dry out and drink some tea, during which I watched my family through the window, listening to the metronomic thwacks of the splitting mauls, the murmur of a conversation I strained to make out but could not. Feeling a little guilty over my proximity to the fire while they labored in the snow. But not too guilty. I’d done my share. I’d do more before the day was out.
This morning the snow was falling still, though short of forecasts; there was maybe five-inches on the ground at daybreak, not the expected ten or more. Beautiful nonetheless. I blazed fresh trails on my chore rounds – to the cow water, to the layers, to the pigs. Still sick, still moving slow, the energy of yesterday now tempered by the quieting sensation of the new fallen snow. I never really wanted to live anywhere it doesn’t snow, though come April I’ll be weary of it like everyone else, watching it slowly disappear from the north-facing hills, wishing for a warm rain to wash the last of it away.
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It’s almost the New Year, which seems like an appropriate time to mention how much I appreciate all my readers. I feel incredibly grateful to have such a kind, thoughtful, and supportive readership. Honestly, writing here wouldn’t be the same without you. Thank you.