The cold dropped like a hammer, and with it that certain stillness of middle winter. I awoke to iced-over windows and kindled a fire before stepping into my chore boots and then down the narrow stairway that services our current quarters.
While I milked, two ravens wheeled overhead; I could hear the rush of the air displaced by their passing. I followed their flight path with my gaze until they reached the old church steeple, then became specks against the backdrop of the snow-white field to the north, then disappeared from view.
My fingers stung from the cold. To distract myself from the pain, I began to compile a mental list of everything we need to do to finish the house, but this soon become more painful than my fingers, so I quit, and then my fingers hurt again, and because I was milking for the pigs, I allowed myself the luxury of dipping them into the bucket of warm milk. I knew the pigs wouldn’t mind, and it made all the difference in the world.
19 thoughts on “It Made All the Difference in the World”
Your clever strategy to warm those freezing fingers evokes and old song we used to sing while paddling on long distance canoe trips: “My paddle’s keen and bright, flashing with silver; Follow the wild goose flight, Dip, dip and swing.” And so were your fingers kept warm with “Dip dip and milk!”
You’ve got an old church steeple in view? Interesting. Sometimes, if it is quiet, I can hear the Sunday bells ringing from the tiny town to our north. Often, after their tolling, a kingfisher will answer with his unique, laughing call.
Those milk jars are the steeple right there. Good stuff.
Don’t you ever want to wake up in a warm house? (I guess you do all summer long)… but winter? When it’s cold like that?
We like to sleep cold… which necessitates waking cold.
I do,too. We have the window slightly open in the bedroom but the rest of the house is heated. It’s working in cold that kills me. But then our “cold” is barely ever below 32. I know what below zero feels like and it’s not pretty. 😉
Does your fridge become a freezer if you open the window in the rear, which I assume is good for hindsight?
If it’s cold enough, we don’t even have to open it!
I admire your pluck, Ben. I don’t mind waking to a cold house as long as I am not expected to get out from the covers!
So what you’re saying is that you’ve decided to ‘suffer’ rather than resort to not suffering by way of modern technology? But what about that electronic finger warmer thingy for milkers? What kind of kook would stick his fingers in warm milk (and oozing with germs, mind you)? You refuse to go numb, by going numb…..excellent 🙂
I love to read another mention of ravens. I think the fact that you are seeing so many of these birds at your new place is a good sign.
Choices. Robert Frost’s poem is about choices, right?…
Thank you for this one, Karen.
I love the photo. So simple but meaningful. Fresh milk. A lot of people don’t know what that is.
After letting the chickens and ducks out, filling their water bins with warm water, topping off the hopper, and scattering sunflower seeds to keep them amused for a while, my fingers were icy. I picked up a pound and three-quarters Silkie rooster and buried my fingers into his feathers, not quite touching his skin because that would have been mean. I warmed my hands while watching the ducks drink and wade. It’s going to be warmer this weekend. Knowing that makes these below 0° nights and mornings easier.
I hit up the spot between the udder and the leg on such occasions. It warms a whole hand in seconds!
I heard someone say tonight that “to accept the unacceptable is the greatest source of grace in the world”. Or like Rodriguez says “crucify your mind”…
“Crucify” sounds like a lot of action and admitting it is real. I like Ramana’s “To ask the mind to kill the mind is like making the thief the policeman. He will go with you and pretend to catch the thief, but nothing will be gained. So you must turn inward and see from where the mind rises and then it will cease to exist.”
But, as we know, Ben does not follow recipes. . . And warm milk is as good as anything for all crucifixions. 🙂
“And you assume you’ve got something to offer. Something you call unique. But I seen your self pity showing. As the tears roll down your cheek”