The temperature fell hard overnight, dropping a good 20-degrees in the 8 (ok, 9) hours I spent holding down my pillow. With the cold front came snow and wind, and this morning we awoke to wraith-like spindrifts spiraling across the pasture. The blown air bit hard on my cheeks and tunneled through the gaps between sleeve and glove, jacket collar and hat. It stung, but the stinging felt like winter should feel, and the house was never more than 100 yards away, so I did chores with no particular urgency. The colder I got, the more I’d appreciate my return to the protective cocoon of our home, where I’d have the distinctly rural luxury of choosing between two wood stoves by which to warm myself. If the cookstove, I could lord over percolating coffee and the twin five-gallon pots of bone broth from the quartet of lambs we processed over the weekend. If the Elm, I could stand sock-footed on the fieldstone hearth, feel the irregularities of the coarse stone against my feet, gaze at the unadorned cement board heat shield behind it, and admonish myself (yet again) for its incompleteness, which in turn would only remind me of sundry other incomplete projects. And then the subsequent descent into the inarguable truth of my failings.
So I chose the cookstove, and it was the right choice.