Witnessing New Mexico

old Ford F-150 in the snow

Tropical compared to today

The image is only two days old. Last night it snowed twice that much, well over half a foot on the lee side of the rocky hill we call a driveway. Today was mostly sunny and cold, really cold, in the teens until almost noon. (It’s 12 °F as I write, an hour before midnight.) I dug paths to the car and the wood pile, but the tiny frozen grains of snow blew constantly and re-arranged themselves, filling in behind me. And did I mention it was cold?

That kind of cold and wind does something to my body. Reacting to the existential threat? I want to eat and sleep and wake up someplace else, but mostly sleep. This living-on-the-frontier schtick has ruined me for normal life, but I could try it anyway. Imagine being able to go into any room of the house and still be warm! For that matter, imagine a house with rooms. Sometimes I feel superior and worldly, knowing of these things. I’m proud of my survival skills. I can keep a wood stove going all day long. On other days, I’m a two-cylinder idiot.

But it’s cozy in the old adobe. We almost never hear an outside sound. The wood stove keeps the main living area at seventy degrees (21°C). My desk is in the cold room where anxious mail and documents go to die. I walk around barefoot and pretend to work. The kitchen is five steps away, the sofa two. I’ve been in trouble for so long, this looks like paradise. For all I know, it is.

What then?

  • Rita December 16, 2015, 12:14 AM

    Oh man. I constantly obsess about how to get a wood stove back into my life. I don’t really get warm by any other heat – except Old Sol, of course. I am scheming on a cargo van with the stove pipe going out a rear window.

    • JHF December 16, 2015, 12:39 AM

      You are so right. There’s simply nothing like it. But I could stand some solar gain and radiant floor heat, if only to free me from eternal stove duty for a while. Which I am very good at, naturally.

  • M.J. December 16, 2015, 5:31 PM

    Aw, snow! Love it, makes you want to snuggle under knitted blankets, wear thick socks, a scarf around your neck, drink warm drinks, have a warm dog in your lap, read a book, watch a fire, write, crunch out to see what animal tracks are around, smell the clean air, gaze at the pretty sight.

    • JHF December 16, 2015, 6:16 PM

      All true! A freezing fog coated all the plants and bare tree branches this morning. It was beautiful.

      Kinda dangerous out there now, though. A lot of the hard-packed snow has turned to ice. But I’ve learned that when the temperature drops to near zero, the snow gets, well, squeaky, and my Canadian snow boots give me pretty good traction.

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