Thursday, February 14, 2013

After the storm...

During the worst of Saturday's blizzard Nemo, we realized that poor planning on our part had left the two hulking propane tanks by the garage empty. The thermometer read 9 degrees and the wind had a thousand voices as it screamed around this old house. We were not sure if "empty" meant that we had enough fuel to heat the place for an hour or a day, so we just shut the heat right off and put another log on the wood stove. This late in the season, the stacks of wood that hunker in the dark, cobwebby basement are low. My anxiety about all of this was high. For an additional $75.00 we could have had the nice man that drives the propane truck come out on Monday, but the thought of spending that extra galled us and we waited patiently for Wednesday when they normally service this rural route. I rinsed the dishes with cold water, boiled kettles on the stove for when I needed warm water, and jealously hoarded what fumes of gas were left for brief, yet blissful, morning showers. In some ways I was transported back in time to the way the woman who first lived here in 1907 must have lived. The wood stove kept us from freezing, but we were not exactly warm. And though all of this was fixable, living with the threat of cold came with a certain feeling of despair. So I did what I must and went directly out to purchase 11 fat Narcissus bulbs. I tucked them carefully into a pottery bowl and secured them with marble chips. The pale, ghostly sprouts greened up within hours of being exposed to the sun, and they are already shooting upwards. Soon they will bloom and the house will be filled with the scent of them. As promised, new fuel was delivered yesterday. I recklessly pushed the thermostat to 60 and reveled in the popping and creaking sounds of the radiators filling the rooms with warmth. My gloom lifted. I know that soon, winters back will be broken. Already the days are longer, and the chickadees are singing their springtime song as they flit from apple tree to bird feeder. The goats will kid and the snow and mud will yield to greening grass. Baby chicks will arrive in a peeping box, we'll plant a garden and it will be sweeter after the storm.

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