Christmas is over. The tree is down, and rests now in the woods behind our house. The gifts are unwrapped and packed away. The decorations are back in their boxes in the attic. The floor is swept, the dishes washed, the glasses stored back in the cabinet to await the next celebration.
I am tired. I have spent the past week pushing, pushing, pushing to get everything done. The holiday was lovely, filled with my favorite people on this beautiful earth. But I am very, very tired.
Now I sit in my clean living room, a glass of wine in hand. The powerful, hypnotic voice of Rhiannon Giddens fills the room. It’s almost time to stir myself enough to make some dinner.
But not yet.
Right now I am sitting. Breathing. Looking out into the frozen twilight. It’s growing dark, although we are barely at half past four. The pine trees are covered in snow so icy that it looks like frosting on a cartoon cake. And our yard is full of tracks, but none of them are ours.
Today the bird feeders have been full of fussing, squawking, scrabbling birds of every color and shape. Seeds have fallen and been scratched up from the icy garden. More seeds have been cracked and eaten. Although I filled the two window feeders this morning, I will have to fill them again before full night comes.
Because winter is out there. Full of teeth. Full of icy fire. In full control of the forest behind us and the marsh that lies within the forest. Just opening the door for a few seconds reminds me that winter and her sharp jaws are just outside.
I am so grateful to be warm. To be safe. To be inside, in my well lit home, with a blanket on my shoulders and a dog in my lap.
It’s almost time to pull the curtains and shut out this bitter night.
But just for a moment, I stand at the window, looking at the tracks. I send a silent blessing to the unseen visitors who left those tracks. Wishing them a safe and sheltered night, where winter cannot find them.
Wishing the same safety and peace to all of you.