Heavy gray clouds had hung low all day. I stared out the kitchen window. Although it looked unpleasant outside, I needed to get some fresh air. A chilled gust of wind tugged at my neck scarf when I stepped out the back door with a letter to mail. Snow-snake ice crystals slithered here and there across the driveway.
Snuggled comfortably inside two sweaters and my late husband’s large work coat, I decided to walk to the bridge after putting my letter in the roadside mailbox. Small pine trees bent beneath a blanket of snow. Tall weeds and grass in the ditch were covered with hoar frost. The river had one or two spots that hadn’t been frozen over before it snowed. Looking down from the bridge, I could see cold water flowing through the looking-glass ice patches.
Back inside the house, the bird-clock on the dining room wall began to sing the song of a little brown wren. It was only four in the afternoon. Surprised that it wasn’t later because of how dark it was, I double checked the time against my wrist watch. Wisconsin winter days are short, especially on the second of January.
Shivering, I poured myself a cup of hot tea. As I sat in my rocking chair wrapped in a blanket to sip my tea, I remembered one summer afternoon spent working in my greenhouse garden.