Winter's Teeth

It seems only yesterday that I was rhapsodizing about autumn.  Then this happened:
You may be able to make out the Wyoming flag flapping in the breeze.  A metallic edge is in the air and crystals are forming on our windshields at night.  In high school, I drove my sister to school in the mornings and we were always running so late (totally my fault) that I would scrape the tiniest little square using my driver's license and then force her to roll down the window and watch the edge of the road as we careened into the school parking lot and tried to make it to class before the 7:55 bell.  We were successful about 50% of the time.  Scraping a windshield in 10 degree weather on a dark, moonless morning with snow clogging the bottom of your flats? Probably not the most romantic part of Wyoming.  But, of course, even with the trees bared and the grasses grayed, a beauty of desolation remains.

In the past two weeks, a lot of things have happened, some of which I am choosing not to write about here.  I visited my grandfather and family in Dayton, Ohio; I started reading a book about the tracing of a family heritage through objects.  I started writing a children's book.  I wrote a description of Seymour, Indiana for a hotels website.  I want to write at length about stories and families and the beautiful sculptures of glass, light, and stainless steel that I saw at the Dayton Art Museum. Several friends have been blessed with new joys, and some have met new griefs. And, the other things that have happened...well, they have renewed my gratitude for life and for the people I love in ways I could not have imagined.  It truly is a gift, this life, and being able to see it as a gift...well, at the risk of sounding trite, that's a gift, too.

Also, I got a library card.

One thing I love about my life here is the repetition of my walks.  Readers of this blog may even notice that many photographs are taken from the same areas.  Each time I tackle Game Creek or Cache Creek
or what is fondly known in town as "the high school butte," I feel rewarded with the incremental changes to the landscape I see.  Geese were migrating, and now four swans are flapping by like white linen on a windy day.  No more two-stepping herons in the field; but on a still night, the coyotes whine.  The yellow leaves I love are also gone, but in their place are bundles of ice, binding the grass together in little clumps, little secrets.  The stars, even, seem colder and more inscrutable.  The characters in my book feel ignored; they, too, are cold and fractious and on edge.  That's what this in-between season is all about.  It's about the portent of changes, and oddly, amidst the tumult, about settling in.  It will be a long winter.  Better keep writing.  Better keep walking.  Better keep pausing to say thank you, under my breath, and yet loud enough for the world to hear.