Chores this fierce, cold day

Some people say signs in the sky say something about what God is up to–hope or his sacrifice or judgement. I don’t know about that, but the gift to me today, when I pushed hard to give thanks was a near complete circle around the sun, two sun dogs, one to northeast and one to the southwest. I blocked the sun to see them, the airy, purples, reds and greens, hovering light alive in the snow tossed up that high.

I stopped to look but the air was so cold, I kept moving, setting hay out, hauling out the water tub for Morgen, because the mares are better off in the cold, bright sunlight and moving air, with as much hay as they want, than the dark barn.

It was so cold I coughed to catch my breath, my fingers burned, but it was peaceful sifting manure, lifting plates of urine off the floor. Bruce left the barn to me, a good thing, because these extra days together, while a gift, can sand a friendship raw with so much cooped up time.

We’ve draped blankets over the windows we haven’t curtained, and I feel closed in, though the wind was so hard last night, our big, front, antique window shook the reflection of our living room. The white out was so complete all the lights disappeared. Our dead pine trees in our yard were blanked out. Bruce wondered how many more trees and bushes would die from this cold. The insulation is good, but I miss the line of sight across our neighbor’s field to traffic along Cherry Valley.

Bruce shoved the wide, flat drifts like bandages, off our drive. Later he said, “I saw two coyotes jump off the snow bank and over the neighbor’s fence. You should have seen them jump.”

I saw delicate tracks, not rabbits, or mice (whose tracks are nearly adorable in snow on the barn beams) or raccoons. Bruce said maybe they were fox tracks, but I wonder if it’s the gray cat I saw weeks ago curled up in the barn, a terrified cat I’ve not seen again, who won’t let us tame her like Onyx. Bruce said he saw a dog streak across the yard one night when I walked the dogs. But maybe that was a fox.

This is what I found this hard but glorious morning of this winter’s polar vortex, the second fierce cold that closed down our university. What about you?