I know this because I woke up extra early this morning, the cold was seeping into my blanket and making me shiver like some sort of storybook creature. All hunched over and whisper quiet. Tickling my exposed feet. It was unusually cold. And the wrong type of cold. Even in my sleep I could tell something was wrong. So I got up and wrapped the blanket tight around myself and shuffled into the living room.
My husband was long gone as he has to be at work ridiculously early. The house was cold. I made my way to the Toyo diesel stove and squinted at the control panel. It blinked an error code in lime green light, and I blinked back at it waiting for my brain to catch up.
Every year this marks the beginning of our winter. It gets so cold so fast that the stove simply shuts off and waits for us to notice. I'm sure that there is some technical mumbo jumbo stuff involved but to me it is just a regular announcement from our heating system, Winter is HERE, says the stove.
It will happen a couple of times during the winter. And so far it hasn't led to anything major. No busted pipes, no coatings of ice or frost where it's not supposed to be. We have a separate built in heater for the bathroom to make sure those pipes stay fluid, so it never really bothered us. But I totally forgot how to fix it so I ended up opening the oven and turning it on and sitting in a pile of warm blankets on the couch till my husband got home to show me again what to do if I get the error. He always smiles his little smile and reassures me that the thing won't blow up if I start pressing buttons. But that is the type of person I am, I imagine pressing buttons and starting a major internal meltdown like in the movies. Complete with flashing red lights and an orchestra playing music in the background.
I also know it's winter when I get the itch to write. I get poetic Tourettes syndrome. I find pleasure in combining words and twisting phrases. All of that energy that I usually put into living off the land gets concentrated and reemerges as a jumble of wanna -be prose. Nothing great mind you. I tend to write things down on brightly colored post it's and leave them around the house like Easter eggs. Next to the tv is a note that says 'watercolor antlers', on the desk it says 'wake up God'. I usually end up forgetting what the intention was but I love the weird winter ambiance it creates. And I use words like 'Ambiance.'
I plan to at least share a little of my writing this winter with you guys. Just for fun.
And here are some wintery wintery photos to help set the stage. I just checked our outside thermometer and it read '-20 degrees.'
|It's almost continually dark now. The moon and sun glide across the horizon, peeking between mountains, doing their best to avoid making eye contact.|
|My husband said these are moose tracks. But I thought it might be something else. winter is the season of tracks.|
|I was standing here when a song bird flew by, it's panicky little voice fluttering around us. Poor thing was not where it was supposed to be. It didn't sit still long enough for a photo.|