The wind wailed and howled throughout the long dark hours.
Never a sound sleeper, I'm made still more restless on a windy night.
At midnight I was wondering if the potted rosemarys on the front porch would be knocked over--but I couldn't make myself get up, put on slippers and a robe to shuffle out to the door and turn on the light. I snuggled more deeply into the quilt and tried to conjure soothing thoughts.
From somewhere in the house--a crash--as of something toppled.
I sat up in bed and listened, but all was again silent except for the whining wind.
I slept at last, fitfully, waking to the dawn greyness.
Tip-toeing to the living room [with the usual accompaniment of cats] I pulled back the curtains.
Along the edges of the front walk there were thin traces of snow as though a cold blast had moved quickly through the evening's rain.
Bundled up and outside I had a look at the battered old thermometer mounted in the carport.
The red arrow hovered over the freezing mark: 32 F.
Wind sang in my ears and tickled icy fingers down my neck in spite of the down vest snapped up tight.
Litter boxes attended to, I pulled the camera from my pocket, aimed it at the glow of the sun as it climbed above the creek.
Pebbles stood near the barn, trumpeting a greeting, her tail streaming in the wind.
I measured out her grain, observed that she had flung her hay in an untidy heap.
Back inside, cheeks stinging from the cold, I trudged down to the basement to finish the litter box duties and start a load of laundry.
There I discovered the source of the midnight crash--a large begonia had been knocked from the edge of the table under the flourescent lights.
The wood that lies beyond our western boundary fence is not an attractive one.
Underbrush of hollies and vines has not been trimmed, fallen trees lie in mouldering skeletal tangles.
Over head this morning was a continual throbbing hum as the wind tormented the towering cedars and clashed through bare branches of oak and maple.
Often as I walk up the back meadow deer or wild turkeys melt into the shadows of the wood.
This morning there was not a creature to be seen or heard.
Pebbles watches as I walk down to the mailbox at noon.
The sun does little to counteract the chill of the wind, but it creates a lovely pattern of light on the winter landscape.
Looking to the southwest at noon.
J. fits some sashing around the garage door to keep the draughts out of his workshop.
Smoke from his woodstove hangs in a haze over the roof.
On the front porch Bobby McGee rests after the wind-inspired exercise of racing about the yard
with his brothers.
It is too cold to leave the sliding door opened even a few inches for the cats.
Nellie signals his wish to come in by thumping on the glass with his paws and waiting for the obedient cat butler to appear.
I took the camera outdoors again at 3:30 for a final documentation of this solstice day--the day my Dad would have referred to as the first day of winter.
In New England where I spent most of my life winter was just getting serious by mid-December with weeks of cold and snow yet to endure.
Although full dark would not arrive until a bit after 5, the sun
was making its departure, leaving the dooryard and barns in the grip of the longest night of the year.
In the kitchen I pulled loaves from the oven.
Pumpkin apple bread on the left.
I had punched down the dough for the herbed white bread [made with unbleached flour--always!] when I realizd that G. hadn't returned my bread pans, borrowed as she baked ahead for the holidays.
The dough which should have gone into three loaf pans had to make do with two glass casserole dishes.
We ate our supper by the fire--romaine lettuce with cucumber and tomato; chicken salad on thick slices of the still-warm herbed bread.
J. has brought in extra wood for the fire.
The cats are calm
An orange half-moon glows in the clear cold darkness of the winter sky and the wind has dropped.
Perhaps tonight we will sleep!