The cold and snow came early this year, grinding numerous projects to an inglorious halt, and leveling assumptions about what would get done before winter truly sets in. On Thanksgiving morning it was five degrees below zero, and not much – if any – warmer by day’s end. My younger son and I skied after dark, under the glow of a fat, bright moon, looping through the forest, then across the cleft of the mountain road to the apex of our neighbor’s sloping field and back down again, headlamps turned off to heighten the sensation of speed. Before we’d pushed off I’d made some inane comment about the vastness and beauty of the night sky; he’d merely grunted, and I’d felt old and foolish all over again.
We slid off the hill, then past the old church, over the bridge, and up the driveway, my lungs stinging from the cold. The next morning I turned 47, but it was still cold, still snowy, and it seemed to me as if nothing much had changed at all.