Winter has come to town. Her hostess gift is a coverlet of snow cast unevenly over the remains of our Thanksgiving storm, disguising ankle-twisting craters of ice. She is borne on the east wind, which here is cruel and clawed.
She woke me with a clatter of hail and scratch of snow on the skylights. She stopped the hounds, solid as a brick wall to their faces, when I opened the door for them to race outside.
I leaned into her stinging darkness, muffled in a rabbit-skin cap, hustling through morning chores. The barn cats padded resolutely after, their delicate tracks obliterated like ghosts beneath the swirling snow.
And the horses! Oh, they pretended to hate the wind that wound their tails like vines about their hocks. They pinned their ears and thrust their muzzles at the sky. They chased her about their paddocks like an impertinent filly.
Secretly, whimsically, I wished to take them all back to my living room. They could curl beneath the Christmas tree, a bizarre nativity, and I would serve them gingerbread and cider and sing them carols.
Instead, I threw them extra hay. Even the cats talked me out of extra breakfast. Now, I am back beneath the domed roof of my farmhouse, sipping coffee, surrounded by sleeping dogs, and daydreaming, childlike, of horses in the snow.