Thursday, November 03, 2005

sympathetic winter

I got up an hour early. Made my bed. Answered messages. Ate breakfast (fresh yogurt and granola and tea). Talked to Gilbert Blythe. The dishes were dripping in the sink. My hair felt loose and wild, had curled overnight because of the rain.

I am starting to miss winter. No. I am starting to miss snow.

It is an ache, like missing a lover. It is a lover, snow. It is only the first of November, but I know I will not see it for a long time. It will not be mine for a long time, if it was ever mine. Maybe I only borrowed it. Maybe it only got caught in my hair, didn’t mean to stay there. Maybe it was only that my skin was soft and hot. It melted quickly.

I will miss the surprise of it, the sudden glance discovery of white at the window. What tells you to look? Instinct? Hope? Can you hear it, flakes tapping? Does it have a smell? Can you crave it? I have, I have.

I have a fireplace but it looks fake and plastic. Even the old, burned log left inside looks artificial, like paper, like it would crumble if I reached out my hand. I’ve already nearly burned the house down once (lighting candles for pumpkins).

It’s fifty, but it warms by mid-morning. That stubborn sun.

I’ve finished my novel.

So today. Today without snow.

I stayed in my blue flannel pj’s. I made hot chocolate on the stove, unmade my bed and climbed back into it. I read a book until noon, looking alternately at the square of sky just beyond my head. Clouds drifted above the house. I could pretend it was Saturday in fall. I could pretend I was ten or five or twenty.

I am not sure I will ever have the things I want: the house with a porch and backyard and pond with a long, slow deck. The tumble of orange leaves over the steps.


But the sky, for all of its blankness, for all its refusal, for all its blue, is wide open. I have hope.

I made vegetable soup with peas and chic peas and carrots.

I’ve carried these stones around with me for years, smooth, flat, palm-sized stones I line on my desk, and hold when I’m writing, when I’m bored. I don’t know where they came from—England, maybe. I’ve forgotten. I don’t know what they’re for.

But today, when I went to stir the soup, when I left the page of the novel I was reading and looked for a marker, there it was: the smooth stone, light, the size of a slice of bread or small potato, the perfect size for holding down a novel’s page, for keeping my place, so perfect, so perfect, it must be, it must be what it is for.