Friday, December 20, 2013

Winter Morning

Winter's cold wind blew through my room 
leaving its frost on the lampshade by my bed 
as I slept.
Where had the heat gone? 
I could only wonder
as I rose from my slumber 
and my feet touched the snow cold floor.
Where were my slippers? I thought, 
not remembering as I padded across the wooden floors 
to flip the light switch 
and illuminate the still dark scene that was my room
only to find that the reason for the frost on my lamp 
might be tied to the unresponsive light 
meaning that the electricity was off
and my attempt to drive out the lingering darkness 
was a failure.
Where is the dog, I wondered, 
not wanting to trip over her slumbering form 
and then I heard her stirring from her bed 
to join me in my pursuit of warmth.
A lone ember still glowed in the fireplace
and seemed my only hope of driving out the cold
before I succumbed to hypothermia
I needed my cell--to report the untimely outage 
and hopefully ease my distress.
But, looking out the window 
into the faint cold dawn's gathering light
I could see the likely cause of my current powerless state 
might be related to the heavy snow 
which fell overnight 
and blanketed everything in sight
with its cleansing, but freezing whiteness 
unspoiled as it was just now predawn
I found my shoes and coat and struggled outside 
against the cold wind blown drifts
trudging across the yard making a trail 
across then ubiquitous whiteness that 
seemed too bright even by the faint glow of the morning sky.
Arriving at the neatly stacked pile of logs 
which held the promise of fire and heat
to drive away the intense cold, 
I loaded and armful
in the orange-hued dawn which 
was brightening against the black sky 
driving the darkness away by each moment.
My breath seemed to freeze to my nose 
as I exhaled thinking of walking back to my house
with the wood and to create warmth from cold.
It was as clear a morning as I could remember.  
The  cold gripped me, 
shaking me from my momentary dream 
reminding me of my mission to find heat. 
Shuffling back through the snow and into the house 
I could not tell which was colder--the house? or the outside?
I had forgotten my gloves 
and my hands were numb as I laid the logs into the fireplace 
and tried to start a fire. 
I wonder if the water pipes would burst when the heat returned? 
Had they frozen? I went to the sink 
and turned the knob hoping 
to start a small stream running to save the pipes
And I did. Perhaps they would survive.
In a few minutes the fire was blazing 
driving away the cold and 
returning the room to a livable  temperature.
Coffee. 
I needed coffee, 
and decided to heat water in a pan on the fire.
Three quick successes improved my mood--
the fire, the water, and the coffee.
I looked at my pathetically under decorated Christmas tree, remembering the trees of my youth
but thankful for the one that now, 
in darkness adorned my room.
Dawn had finally broken and light poured into the room 
with it, the promise of the day 
reminded me that this cold, winter morning 
was but another step in the journey 
and that with each obstacle comes the opportunity for success.
I was kidding myself. 
I should have stayed in bed and waited for the power to return.
Oh--I still hadn't called the outage in.
The dog joined me on the couch after the call, 
I sipped my coffee and we both marveled 
at the gift that we had been given that morning.
The gift of life and of each other
the promise of another day 
even in the middle of Winter's cruel cold grip.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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