After the death of Ray McNeill, I scavenged a phone number for a woman who roomed in my freshman college dorm and phoned her. We hadn’t seen each other in years. She called me, years ago, after a mutual friend died unexpectedly from heart failure. Our conversation has no real point, no precise question I want answered. We agree we didn’t like each other, years ago, but can’t remember why. What was the contention and why did it matter so much?

Four degrees this morning. I’ve experienced forty below zero, but, good lord, four degrees is not compatible with prolonged human exposure. I carry the stove ashes out and stand for a moment, a few snowflakes drifting down from the darkness, illuminated in my kitchen window’s electric light. Below me in the valley, the scattered lights of the village glow: power still on here. All night, wind threw handfuls of icy snow at our windows. I lay awake listening and reading, my cat curled on my bed, wary of my visiting brother’s dog.

My youngest and I, as the initial rain set in, discovered a rainbow over the village. A fortuitous sign? All depends on how you read that, which way luck will run.

7 thoughts on “Composite.

  1. So nice to have a wood stove in the midst of all this cold. 3 degrees this morning in PA. The dogs have zero interest in being out – smart pups. Merry Christmas to you and yours. I always enjoy your reflection, even if I don’t comment daily.

  2. It was -7 here in KY yesterday morning! I have a furnace whose condensate line exits the house out back under a deck. The first time I realized this, it was because the garage ceiling began leaking when the line froze and backed up all the way to the furnace. It’s only frozen three times in 27 years. Now when it gets very cold or cold for days on end, I know to check on it. I can’t imagine the cold you have to deal with on a daily basis. Merry Christmas to all.

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