Another gloomy dawn, a few degrees below freezing. The sound of an animal returning to its home under my house. Standing up to look, I tip over my mug, and stare at the small puddle of tea as whatever it is has a brief gnaw on a foundation beam.

I’m grateful to the snowflakes for mostly not landing on the pages of my book and sailing on by. Am I fully acclimated to the winter now? It’s disconcerting how much the darkness has receded, only a month past the solstice.

7F/-14C at dawn. The rifle-crack of a tree with ice in its heartwood. I peer like some ancient mummy through my layers of cloth.

After another cold, windy night, might the ground finally be frozen? A tree wails in the darkness. From the ridgetop, long sighs.

Well below freezing, with a half-inch of snow on the ground and a wind that keeps turning the pages of my book. The sun appears for a second or two through a gray eyelid of cloud.