December  8, 2017

December 8, 2017

A front blew in on Wednesday.  Rain pelted the roof and deck and though it was warm inside, the temperature was dropping rapidly.  The rain continued all day, drizzling over the neighborhood, sinking into winter vegetables and filling pools in the arroyo.  This is the beginning of winter.

December is an in-between time here, not fall and not winter.  Autumn lingers, its golden mornings stretching through December.  Here and there, a sudden cold front snaps us all to attention, freezing plants forgotten outside and reminding us to dig out warm coats and boots.

An overcast sky covered the area all the next day, occasionally spraying us with cold drizzle.  I went out to check on Willis who I found lying comfortably in his shelter, legs tucked under his body.  He looked massive there, reminding me of a donkey lying in the nativity scene.  His coat is thick and soft.  I run my fingers through his fur, along his spine, feeling the warmth of him.  The paddocks and arena are soaked and muddy – no riding today.  Reluctantly Willis rises to his feet and follows me to the gate and out of the paddock.

The barn is quiet except for the snort of horses and stamping of hooves; everyone is resigned to another cold, rainy day.  I groom Willis with a rubber curry, fluff up his fur and brush him off; then let him graze in the pastures behind the barn while I brush off his blanket, debating whether he needs it or not.  It is 40 degrees and Willis is wooly.  The temperature will not get that much colder tonight and the rain will stop.  When I lead Willis back to his paddock and close the gate, Willis trots back to the gate and hangs his head over the rail.  He wants more grass, but I cannot stay.  I finish putting brushes and lead rope away, feeling guilty.

When I open the front door to feed my cat, it’s snowing.  I am at once shocked and delighted.  By 9 p.m. snow has covered front yards and plants, the sage and salvia dusted with white.  Snow sparkles in the blackness while neighbors’ Christmas lights twinkle across the street.  

Tim and I walk Daisy out the back door across a slippery white deck, all of us bundled up in warm coats.  Daisy doesn’t know what to make of the cold white stuff under her feet and in between her toes.  We have to pull her along at first, but soon she gives in to the newness of it all.  Back on the deck she slides around and licks the snow.  Suddenly cold is forgotten.

We may have winter this year after all.

Christine Baleshta


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