Friday, January 15, 2010

Coming Home in the Snow

Frozen fountains line the streets all over town, abstract sculptures carved out of milkglass, created by artists unseen. Caught in the frigid grip of the coldest weather in years, they seem surprised to be standing so still, the casual bubble and froth of their natures ice-paralyzed, immobile as cathedral stone.

Above me, like whole notes on the staff of a Gregorian chant, the fat doves have huddled together in twos and in threes along the power lines, heads lowered, feathers puffed, orange beaks tucked under grey wings. While to my left, looking rather perturbed at the weather now descending upon them, a sepia flock of Canada Geese crowds the rapidly whitening lawn of the courthouse, all mutters and scowls as they wonder exactly which of them is to blame for this sorry miscalculation of winter locales.

There is no colder place than a city in snow and I have stayed too long at the knit shop. Already the snowflakes are falling, tiny ermine clad fireflies pirouetting around me, cheerfully greeting a landscape they rarely, if ever, see. Already the lights are being switched on in the old houses along my way, coats being shed, supper on the stove. I watch as the people scurry home on the sidewalks, heads pulled inside hoods, hands plunged into pockets.

I take a deep breath and raise my face to the slate sky, just to feel the tiny fingers of ice touch my skin. I hug my sack of new nut-brown lambswool just a bit closer.

Oh, how I love to be out in a twilight like this.

But just as the snow begins to fall harder, and the sheepy grey of the sky turns to soft navy blue, I see the lights of the cottage burning quietly before me and suddenly long to trade my wellies and scarves for fur hugs and tea mugs. I turn the key in the lock and the old door cracks open. I feel the warmth from the fireplace, smell The Songwriter’s homemade chili, hear the chipper refrain of the kettle.

The very best of both worlds in one day.

Painting by Henri Eugene Le Sidaner