Bringing in the Solstice tree
There are so many stories I want to be telling, like about the two Jamaican men Penny and I found standing in the middle of the mountain road as we headed out for a ski. There was no car to be seen, no indication of how they’d arrived there, it was as if they’d been delivered by some invisible force, or perhaps a fast-moving tornado, dropped into the snowy landscape (and how could I not notice the darkness of their skin against the whiteness of the surroundings, and how beautiful this contrast was, and I hesitate to even mention this for fear it reveals something unflattering about my relationship to race, and yet: It was so), and just as I started to ask if they needed anything, I happened a glance over the guardrail of the bridge we all stood upon, and there, a good 15-feet below us, lay their car. It was in the stream, and crumpled like a sheet of the newspaper I use to start the morning fire. I looked at the car, and then at the men, who seemed shaken but otherwise unblemished, and then at the car again. Their survival seemed unfathomable to me, as near to a miracle as I have witnessed. They were cold, very, very cold, and while the driver waited for the police, the other man – Jed was his name – followed us back to our house to sit by the fire and drink tea and tell us about his life in rural Jamaica and we laughed a lot about this and that, and while I was sorry for the misfortune of the accident that had brought him to our doorstep, I was delighted by his company and though I knew him for only 90 minutes or so, I missed him when he left.
Or even just this morning, milking in the early stillness, the sky breaking open blue to the west in advance of a predicted Christmas storm, and after that, a trough of deep cold, twenty below or colder, the days not reaching zero. My family is away for the next 10 days or so – gone to hunt deer in North Carolina, where the season runs into the New Year and does are legal game – and I am home, happy for the quiet time, unafraid of the aloneness, though also glad to have plenty to keep me busy. I will feed the fire and ski and break the ice on the animals’ water and bring the truck battery inside to sit by the stove at night. Though where I’ll go if the truck actually starts, I have no idea.