The cats woke me at dawn with cries for food and love and the sound of my slippers shuffling down the hall to start the rhythm of their day. I filled their china bowls, shifted the curtains, watched the first flakes of another storm, then turned with a shiver to put the kettle on.
In the bedroom my love still lay asleep, wrapped in cotton and linen and the shifting pictures of a morning dream. Here, in the tiled kitchen, I lit a matchstick, let it touch each candle on the table until I'd burned the match to its quick and the wicks flickered gold against the grey.
I scooped silver forks and spoons from their chest, set out the Polish amber crystal for juice, glazed blackberries with maple syrup until they glittered like onyx.
The spiced pumpkin pancakes sizzling in the skillet were not silver dollars, but rich, golden coins. True, you can't buy love, I thought, but breakfast makes a good trade.
The kettle whistled, my love awoke, and now full of all they needed, the cats fell back asleep in their rocking chair, lulled by our soft laughter and the schoosh, schoosh, schoosh of snow blowing against the slate roof of the church next door.
My heart, now full, found the rhythm of its day.