December 9, 2012

North Cairn: Winter's not just about the cold

(Continued from page 1)

We didn't make a fire that night because the kindling had been left in the snow and rain. But I stacked it all in unkempt piles near the wood stove and against the canvas log carrier a friend had given me for Christmas a year ago.

Then, I made my small adjustments to the buttons on the kerosene heater, playing them like miniature piano keys and scaling them to the appropriate temperature, given the conditions -- more like early fall than winter.

The dog retreated to the thickest rug on the pine floor, keeping her distance from the wood stove and angling herself across a throw rug so that her hind legs dangled off the edges and the bulk of her was cushioned and warmed by a thick padding of woven cotton.

Then, knowing her mission, she went back to sleep.

I followed suit soon enough but not before spending a long moment in the dark with only the light of the kindling flickering at my back and reflecting in the glass panes in front of me. I was trying to memorize the fog, though the very idea seems a folly to me now.

But I wanted to remember the dream of the day, the hard angles and sharp edges of existence gone fluid in the mist, the light from the head lamps on the car illuminating only 25 feet before being turned back on its source. I was hoping to dissolve the strict geometry of our time and place into something simple, chemical, comforting -- solid softened to liquid and then into the thin air itself, into which anything could disappear, anything at all, even my self, lost though I was, and found.

North Cairn can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:


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