Don’t you just love this time of year? Remove the consumerism -- that rush to buy gifts with money the shoppers don’t have. Take out the trappings and the hard sell angles that make people crazy enough to use pepper spray to buy an XBox. If you listen, you’ll hear quiet. All of nature is settling in for the deep winter to come.
The shorter days, with their dark mornings and early evenings, extend the quiet of the night. We’re inching toward the shortest day of the year on December 22nd. The sun is moving to its lowest and weakest point in the northern hemisphere until it barely appears during the winter solstice. There’ll be only nine hours and twenty minutes of daylight in my area that day. This is the turning point of the year. The romans called it Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. After the winter solstice, the light will grow stronger and brighter to a full twelve hour day on the spring equinox in late March.
Though it’s months away, spring can take its time coming. Growing up in Chicago I got used to my seasons being defined and coming in fours. I relish the cold grip of winter because to me this is the introspective time of year. In my country home, the cold air slips through the nooks and crannies and brings a desire to simmer a pot of homemade soup or to bake a pie or make bread just to add a little warmth to the house.
It’s time to dress the little dog in her hoodie, and I can’t help but smile. The big dog takes the cold in stride. Both dawdle on their walks these days as cold air and frosty ground make scents and smells keener. The deer, coyote, and fox all come close to the house now. The big dog takes that in stride too. The little dog is outraged at the audacity of the wildlife. She patrols from window to patio door lest the outdoor offenders even think about coming inside. Her hoodie makes her look tough and ready for action.
I’m a very warm sleeper, the sort who kicks off the covers all night long. I laugh when I tell friends I’d be comfortable sleeping naked on an ice floe, but it’s true. I prefer the bedroom window open in winter. When I was a teen, I’d leave my window open wide and snuggle into my linens with my dog at my feet. My room would get so cold I’d have frost on my doorknob in the morning. I don’t do that anymore. My husband would be too uncomfortable.
I love when he gets into bed before me. I especially love his gasp as my cold skin comes in contact with his. It’s payback, you see. As an undergrad at night school all those years ago, he drove our old beater of a Datsun back and forth to school, 63 miles one way and 63 back, three days a week. There was a small hole in the car’s floor and the heater barely worked. I’d be in bed by the time he came home frozen.
Living in an old farmhouse without heat on the second floor bedroom was my alternative to the open window. The ice cold room with the breath stealing cold bed was heaven to a warm sleeper like me. It didn’t take long to warm the space between the covers with my body heat and I’d listen to the sound of the far off train whistle carried on the cold night air. When my husband returned home from school, he’d strip down and slide under the covers then press against me to thaw. After the initial shock, we’d melt together. I loved it.
So with cold wind howling outside and in, I think I’ll bake an apple pie.
Hello, I’m Rose Anderson, the author of scorching romances Dreamscape and Hermes Online. You can find me about anywhere these days. Here are several of my links. I’d love if you’d stop and say hi. :)
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