The road is patched with thick ice from the day’s snow and freezing rain, making every step one to be mindful. I reach deep into my coat pocket for my new Christmas gloves to ward off the cold wind while moving slowly down the hill.
Cutting a small stream on the east side of the road is the frigid waters from the rain and snow melt. It’s a soft beautiful sound of water moving slowly over rock; across driveways and through the drains. It carries just enough force to start cutting under the asphalt road.
The family seven houses down at the fork in the road are working on their chimney. It was time to take the cover off and check the draw. With wood plentiful in this area it is a better value than the cost of heating oil. I wave towards the roof peak making sure he is ok and does not need a helping hand; hoping that he does as it is nice to meet new people.
You can become isolated on the mountain.
After rounding the corner and about a quarter mile down the road another neighbor is unpacking a small trailer with wood, attached to his quad, stacking it with care just below his house. I wave and hope he doesn’t need help as it does not look as much fun as walking on the roof.
The wind is cutting deeper into my coat, sweatshirt and flannel as I crest the hill toward the cabins and on to home.
I never tire of looking at the cabins, thinking of the stories they hold. The weather bleached wood I’ve now watched through almost three seasons. With each they take on a new wardrobe; a hat of summer moss, a blanket of autumn leaves and a coat of winter snow.
The thermometer on the porch reads sixteen degrees and I feel the wind driving through the tree limbs is pushing it lower. As I kick the snow off my shoes, reaching for the door, I’m that more appreciative for my Christmas gloves.