First Morning of the Year


Morning ski with my friend Dirk on the last day of 2017

Milking this morning at 18 below, I noticed the squeak of snow under Pip’s hooves as she shifted her weight; how the stream of milk made splashes that froze immediately against the sides of the bucket, coating it in white; the spiral of wood smoke rising from our chimney. My own breath pluming in the air, the expelled heat of blood and lung. Strangely, my bare fingers were warm, while my booted toes were not. But the bucket was almost full now, and I knew what awaited me in the house: The fire, so fierce I’d watched the stovetop glow orange in the early morning dark, the cats, connoisseurs of comfort, slumbering in patches of sun just slanting through easterly windows, a pair of this morning’s eggs tucked in my coat pocket. I’ll fry them in butter and eat them as the sun passes over the copse of spruce beyond the garden.

12 thoughts on “First Morning of the Year”

  1. Happy New Year to all!
    -14F under clear and sunny skies here in Omaha.
    The steam rising for the coal burning power plant 17 miles east of me in Council Bluffs, IA, is spewing a thick column of steam high into the sky as is the norm when we have very cold weather.

  2. Such beautiful pictures you paint with you words. Your posts create the same feelings for me as I had reading Little House on the Prairie as a kid. The joy of simplicity and a life working steadily in the rhythm of the seasons. The descriptions of snow and cold are fascinating to me. I am reading your posts from sub tropical Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It’s summer here, with fans whirring and cicadas creating a steady, remarkably loud background noise. I had to ring Amazon recently, and spoke to a representative somewhere in the world. The cicadas where so loud he could hear them through the phone line. He had to ask me a couple of times what they were, as I don’t really hear them; they are just part of summer.

  3. Hey Ben,

    I heard something on NPR about how the colder than normal weather in Vermont is causing many people who burn wood for heat to worry, as they are going through their wood piles faster than expected. Is that a going to be a problem for you and your friends?

    1. Not sure about anyone else, but we’ve got more than enough for this year under tin, and another year’s worth on the ground. No doubt there’ll be some folks running short, though. Heck, there generally is even in a mild winter.


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