Like much of the northeastern US, we had a snowy Thanksgiving. I woke early and peeked out the back window to discover several large branches of the great old white pine scattered across the yard, and dozens of juncos, sparrows, finches, and squirrels hustling about, gathering up the black-oil sunflower seeds that were now easy to spot against the crisp, white snow beneath the feeders.
All weekend I said thank you's in my mind, humming Peanuts Christmas music to myself and feeling grateful for the roof over my head and the calm center our little house provides when the cold winds--both real and metaphorical--rage outside. Family and friends gathered. There were dinners and leftovers and parties, plus late-night movies and early morning pumpkin pie.
And this morning I flipped the calendar to a new page. Ah, the chimney cleaners come tomorrow, just in time for all the fires we will light against the growing cold and dark. Like the birds and squirrels with their seeds, I've been gathering supplies, taking stock. The shelves are full, and we are as ready as anyone can be, I suppose, for what the winter will bring. I've snipped fresh greens from the fallen branches to fill the window boxes and line the mantle. Soon we'll cut down our wild beast of a tree from the local farm where we've gone each year since we moved back to Maine, and as we guide it through the kitchen door, with a great blustery rush the whole house will fill with the scent of a frozen forest. And so winter will begin.