Thursday, 5 February 2015

Holding the heat

We've stayed close to home this cold snap.
A short snowshoe under blue skies to get out blood flowing, our cheeks rosy and our hair frosted.


Our 330 sq foot box the warmest haven for miles in all directions
except inside the bodies of animals.
We see the frost, crystallized breath at the entrance to holes in the snow
and I wonder how warm it is inside the curl of a sleeping bear?
How much heat escapes in one winter?
Sometimes your breath, muffled beneath scarves and hoods, is the loudest sound in the land.
The stillness swallows all.



We returned to our little house from a midwinter vacation. After staying in large, open houses, I was dreading the return to our cramped quarters. We arrived as the sun was setting, set a fire, and thawed the place out. I was surprised at how nice it was for all of us to come home, and how easily we make enough room for ourselves in our sardine tin.

Into this home we can allow only things that will be used. The kids need to keep their treasures small. This can contradict lessons to reuse whatever we can. Selwyn is a moralist at seven years old. She sees value in every birthday card, broken toy, cereal box, toilet paper roll. I admire her reluctance to waste anything and to let each item create as much joy as it can before it returns to trash.

My role is ultimate judge of when something is no longer worth the space it takes up. Any undesirable that is remotely burnable I cremate.



In the short winter days we brighten our forest by burning brush piles all around our property. The smoke billows off down the valley and I forget what old baskets and puzzles and doll houses and even old teddies have been cremated there.