Hunkering Down

This winter has already been a bit of a challenge to everyone in this area- more snow in three weeks than usual for December with some days reaching -15 degrees of chill... not counting the wind. The ice storm a few weeks back was stunningly pretty, but horrendously destructive as the weight of its icy beauty pulled trees into trees into deep waist-ed bows until they collapsed under their weight , acknowledging their submission to the elements and powers around them. I watched bushes literally collapse in upon themselves- imploding into their cores like a black hole had developed at their roots and was pulling them quickly and inexorably into the nothingness. I lay awake one night gazing blankly at the ceiling and just listening to the creaks, groans, whistling and popping of the many pieces of topiary and the woods in general as they fought and struggled not only for their limbs, but for their very lives. It felt a little bit like the end of the world... the sensation of the earth and all life starting to collapse and die into extinction. It was hard not to feel sad at the death and destruction that I can see from every window of my house and on my walks into the woods. It looked like a war had been fought... and that mother nature had lost, brought figuratively to her knees in surrender. Only one thing spoke of positive things: the small inlet in the woods under some trees with the clear prints and indents of at least five deer who have rested out the storm and then left, alive and ready to look for food.

The one drawback to moving into my awesome cabin at the very beginning of winter is that I had no time to locate and fix any areas or fissures in the walls, windows or doors that might need to be repaired. Most of the time I haven't really noticed – the stove keeps the place warm and cozy and I find myself quite comfortable. I have found that while the insulation is good, the windows are very thin and two of them have broken frames and so in small places, a steady stream of air flows in from the exterior. The wind and snow come in on three sides and I can't feel the cool draft in through the plugs in the wall as well. So when the weather is in negative numbers, it has actually been more of a struggle to keep the place well heated. I will say that even with this difficulty I smile – I just love living here and I feel like I have finally found my refuge... a place to regain my health and to allow the wounds of the last few years to heal. I have slowly been filling in some of the cracks and covering the openings in the windows with tape and down blankets to hold it all tightly together until better weather. That has helped a lot and has even provided more evening entertainment as some of the cats find it less challenging to run up the walls now. :)

So, we are all hunkered down and ready for three more months of snow and ice and wind. And as I drive slowly to work three days a week I look at the houses and neighborhoods as I slide past. The buildings seemed closed off too... covered with snow and ice... hunched or and oppressed, waiting for the warmth to return. How are things in your neck of the woods? Are you and your neighbors warm and comfortable? How is the winter affecting you and your plans? If you survived the ice storm, who did it affect the trees and wildlife around your home? I am very curious!

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