Cold Snap!

Our neighbors borrow my teenager’s hair dryer to thaw their pipes. It’s 14º below zero, and they’re confident their situation is minor. Gossip winds around town of whose pipes have frozen. This morning, I woke in the dark with a cat purring beside my shoulder. My daughter, 19, gets up with me in this predawn and says she doesn’t know what she should do with her life.

Aim to do something you’ll be proud of, I suggest.

Deeper than 20º below is when the bitter cold really sets in. The lowest I’ve seen the thermometer is 40º below, in farm fields along the Lamoille River. A ghostly mist ambled around, as if we were in an otherworldly dream.

This is the season of library books, board games, knitting — one year ebbing into the next.

Although there is the road,
The child walks
In the snow.

— Murakami Kijo


Main Street, Hardwick, Vermont

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