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March 12, 2019


The night sky is dark and full of stars.  I watch them out the passenger window, black tree-shapes whizzing past while Orion holds steady above.

The car slows when we turn off the main road, and slows more when pavement turns to dirt.

A slight rise gives a second of notice before it’s time to turn into our driveway, and then we’re home.

We climb stiffly out of the car, smile at the plowed driveway–Trey is such a kind neighbor–and we assess the mound of snow separating the driveway from the cabin.  Is it packed enough to climb over, or do we put on boots to walk the 10 feet?

I step lightly into the snowbank and quickly pull out my foot before my clog fills with snow.  Boots it is.

Randy unlocks the door while I linger over my boots and push the detritus filling the back seat back into tote bags.  After stalling long enough for Randy to have found and disposed of any mice that might have been caught in mouse traps, I sling a backpack and a couple of tote bags over my shoulder, then clamber over the snow mound.

I bang my feet on the metal grate on the porch and open the door, careful not to bump into Randy, who is kneeling at the wood stove, building a fire.  The only way past him would be to climb up and along the couch, which I don’t want to do with boots on (despite the banging off of snow on the grate), so I push the bags into the space behind the door and go back to the car for the rest of our luggage.

Ice chest in hand, I consider leaving it on the shelf on the porch outside–space is at a premium inside–but it’s cold tonight.  Better to bring it inside so it doesn’t get too cold.  I hate when the milk freezes and there are milky-ice crystals in my morning granola.  Instead, I squeeze past the couch–the fire has been built and Randy is on to other chores–and set the cooler on the little desk that is half office, half closet, depending on which direction you face.

Now is the waiting part of our arrival ritual–waiting and watching the thermometer while it creeps slowly up toward coziness.

At the moment, it’s 31° inside–better than the 24° outside, but not better enough to convince me to take off my winter coat. I sit on the couch in my puffy down jacket, winter hat pulled tightly over my head, and consider grabbing a blanket to throw over me.  It’s tempting, but I’m tired enough that I decide that unrolling it would take too much energy.  Instead, I hunker down in my coat and pull out a book while Randy stands directly next to the stove and warms his hands.  At 35° Randy is tired enough that he pulls down the ladder to the loft and climbs up to bed.  “I’m holding out for 40°,” I tell him.  It’s still too cold to take off my winter coat, and I don’t want to crawl into bed wearing it.

At 41° I do make my way up the ladder, but only my coat has been removed.  I crawl under the down comforter and shriek, “I thought you were warming up the bed for me!”  I curl myself into as small a ball as I can, set to fall asleep with clothes, socks, fleece, and hat still on.  It’s hard to imagine that in the middle of the night the wood stove will have heated the cabin to 80° and we’ll wake up to crack the window open.

In the morning we’ll wake to sunshine streaming through the windows, will push the comforter off the bed, will sit in t-shirts  and sunglasses on the couch, eating granola and sipping tea.  But for now, we glance up at the stars through our loft window and try to warm ourselves against the chilly sheets.  Tomorrow we’ll hike and visit with neighbors. Tonight, we warm ourselves with the feeling of being home.


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One Comment
  1. This piece and the way you structured it kept me feeling as if I was there with you! Nice writing!

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