9:00 on Christmas Eve morning. The temperature keeps fluctuating between 30 and 31 degrees, and the sky is overcast with solid grey clouds. I am sitting by the woodstove, surrounded by two contented cats and a mournful looking Golden Retriever. These cold morning outdoor excursions never last quite long enough for energetic pup. He doesn’t seem to understand that his heavy, golden coat can hold a lot more heat than my human skin.
We took a quick stroll out to the garden. The back forty is in full winter dress now, brown and spikey with only a few brave herbs showing any signs of green. Winter is the favorite season of theoretical farmers. We feel absolutely no pressure from the outside world to stop talking and get on with planting. Nobody except the hardcore, year-round gardener is out on bleak mid-winter mornings tilling the soil and planting seeds. The rest of the world joins our contemplative state and is somewhat content to muse over seed catalogues, planting charts and garden journals. For once, we theorists are among the inactive majority.
The flurry of shopping, baking and wrapping is over for the season. Soon, a different buzz of activity will take over: delivering presents, greeting family and exchanging overflowing plates of sweets with the neighbors. Our little town savors its peaceful state while suffering alongside our northern neighbors as they mourn the irrational loss of a classroom full of children. And yet, we received our own alarms on the last day before break. Our own schoolhouse was watchfully guarded by a collection of uniformed officers. We all seem to hover on the edge of uncertainty while fervently praying for peace on earth.
The house is quiet with only an occasional mournful sigh circling the air. The pup is not content to simply enjoy the fireside warmth. Perhaps someone with more energy than I will wake up soon and let the poor doggie run outside awhile. In the meantime, I will avoid his doleful countenance and move a little closer to the heat.