Everyone is posting phone photo captures of the weather forecast for the day, but I know it’s cold before I even look at a screen. My old lady house has been groaning all night long, her bones creaking and cracking as the temperature falls and falls.

It’s bitter with frostbite warnings and windchill warnings and blowing snow warnings everywhere a person turns, and all I want is to turn over in bed and pull up covers and hide from the chill.

It’s a day of no school busses running, and I know the yard is too snow-full to let me out without a fight, but a neighbour calls and offers a ride and we make the plan.

He’ll stop early on his way to work and he’ll pick up our boy and drop him and his girls at the sitter’s who will get them to school and collect them again after, and the neighbour will bring them all back at the end of the day.

I tell him not to drive into our yard, but to call when he’s leaving and the boy and I will walk out to the highway to wait. And that’s how it all goes, in the still-dark morning.

Bundled top to bottom, eyes peeking out from under furry hats and noses covered by scarves, we stumble through the drifts and wait at the edge of the road, everything magical ice and shadow under the yard light’s glare, and wait.

They come and he goes and I shuffle back. She’s fighting, this old house, to keep her inside warm against the attack of cold seeping through her old windows and ancient doors, and I surrender to the couch and the new, soft Christmas blanket. The morning slips away with sips of coffee, and I catch up on my bible reading and my Facebook and the movie I left unfinished the other day.

It’s cold afternoon then and the bathroom gets itself cleaned and a little laundry gets itself done and I think I’ll make some muffins, even though the kitchen feels like the coldest room in the house. I think maybe some blueberry muffins will be just the thing and the warmth of the stove will help fight the chill, and I put Joni Mitchell on to sing me through it.

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I put on an extra sweater and my warm socks and it’s while Joni is inviting me to come in from the cold, her clear bell voice perfect for the mood, that I finally find my feet in the day. I make peace with my home and I thank her for her efforts to keep us warm, and I forgive her the weaknesses.

For this is my weakness, too. The struggle to stay warm inside and the fight against the cold that pushes at me, relentless at times.

I pick up the whisk and gently and kindly fold the blueberries into the batter and the day is redeemed in grace and beauty and thankfulness.

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