All night, wind howls around our house. I give up the charade of sleeping and pull out my library book. I’m in the final pages of Meredith Hall‘s memoir about growing up in New Hampshire, Without a Map, and I’m in no rush to end her story, close the cover, and return the book.
At my feet, my little cat lies awake, thinking cat thoughts, in a cat circadian rhythm of his own. The Ides of March howl in fiercely. All day, the wet snowstorm has swirled around us. My wet boots lie beneath the wood stove. Our house banked in by white and the ash bucket melting dirtily into the path where I’ve left to cool, its embers to burn out and die.
Somewhere in those hours before dawn, I shake flat the wood stove’s embers with the ash shovel and lay one, two, more pieces of wood on the flickering coals. In the dark house, the little cat follows me downstairs, curious about breakfast but not insistent.
I think of what I’ve read that day, about a stone house built nearby in the 1800s from a single boulder. A curious endeavor. Take this stone, cut it into pieces, and make a home. In the darkness, the wind rakes over our house, hurls over my snow-submerged garden plot, and whirls over the town cemetery.
“The past lies beneath the surface, intransigent truth. Remembered or not, what we say and do remains, always.”— Meredith Hall