“Sheila, warm your feet by the radiator”, said Evelyn. “Thanks Ev, my cotton socks soaked up a bunch of ditch water.” Evelyn takes the sobbing socks out of the room in a bucket. “Slip out of those pants before you catch your death.” Sheila rolls the faded jeans into a puddle on the slate floor. “Jeez, these pants are steaming.” “Well, you did break through the ice covering the ditch”, Evelyn calls from the mud room. Sheila answers. “I wanted to get a closer look at that momma deer and her baby.” “Fawn, Sheila, its called a fawn.” “Ok, whatever. Think we could both get a warm eggnog and brandy to help us recuperate?” Sheila answers. “You mean, can I get us both a holiday nog? Yeah, sure, I could use some fire in my belly.”
A sudden movement of crows fly as a random print on a flat grey sky. Jay stares away. Cold pours into his lungs and settles there while warm smoke hovers below his untrimmed brow. Each black bird selects a viewing branch from the naked tree. Ice water drinks Jay into the pond. A last few crows swim the horizon to their roosting tree, and a group of ripples grasp the shore below the tree before they surrender to the weak ebb of the pond.
Capillaries untended on the arbor stopped their flow of sap during these grey months when days long for color. Canes now clacking for attention and the exquisite pain of pruning. Pain which awakens life from the root of this knobbed post as the fruiting wood prepares itself for stompers and tasters.