Last night the predicted, bitter arctic air left Santa's homeland and savagely battered and whistled outside our door and strained at our windows for hours. We hide ourselves beneath a soft throw and watched the first episode of Season 4 of Downton Abbey which I had taped earlier. It wasn't until after the TV was off and we headed to bed that we heard the howling, moaning, and groaning of the angry winter wind. It was frightening and haunting. It was all those things that make one think of the death of others and even their own death. It was the loneliest sound I had ever heard, much worse than the sad nostalgia of that midnight train whistle that drifts aimlessly across an open field. It was Father Death determined to stay and embrace.
Snow had been predicted after midnight, but when I woke, as I sometimes do, at 4:00, the landscape was dry and brittle under my porch light. I did not open the front door for a more fearless view for concern that I would startle the little wren that lives in the woodpile that we have stacked on the porch. Sending her out into this wind-sheared night would be certain death for her.
The thermostat said it was a balmy 12 F outside! They, those weather people who find these dramatic episodes a gleeful part of their career, had predicted 6 F which would have been even colder when multiplied by the added wind chill! Were they disappointed that they were wrong? Did they 'Aw,shucks' that this had not been accompanied by a blizzard? Were the people up north who have endured this winter's anger for the past two weeks even sympathetic that it now covers two-thirds of the country?
Where were all my feathered friends hidden? Had they found shelter?
I made some coffee and waited for the sunrise and answers.