Snow over ice over sleeping daffodils.

I'm up long before daybreak to roast root vegetables, make a batch of chili, shovel the driveway and spread salt. After a night of snowfall, day breaks into brief moments of silver. My cheeks burn from the cold air and the sting stays with me most of the day.

A blizzard bears down from the west, gathering moisture from Lake Michigan. Another 12+ inches and -50 windchill is expected. Preparations are in order: firewood, gasoline, candles, batteries. I clear as much snow as I can before my soft body gives way. After an hour of raking the roof, my arms are too shaky to wipe the freezing sweat from my forehead. I trip myself in the calf-deep snow walking back to the garage and decide to just stay down for a bit. The dog thinks I am playing, so I do. Fake it 'til you make it, right?

Still on the ground, tiny prisms melt on my face. When the dog sticks her nose into my scarf-swaddled neck, I remember my dream from last night in which we shared a bowl of soup. And tea. Through the fragrance of steam you said: when you love one, you love the whole.

Back inside, heating the kettle, I catch a glimpse of the pileated woodpecker at the feeder and it sends a shiver up the back of my neck. He is exactly where he should be but his large frame and fiery crest startles me every time. Winter wants nothing from me – but it is here – and I am here – between thoughts – shoveling – sleeping – dreaming under books and a mountain of quilts. We are not on the periphery. We are threaded through – led by a piercing needle – down – under – up over – down through again. I'm not sure what we are making but even now in this unrelenting winter, piling white upon white upon white, I taste the vibrancy

of what
and of whom
we are making