I took the dogs for a walk. It was February, but unnervingly warm, shirtsleeves in the heart of winter. The dogs were blissful, the sunlight off of the crusted snow blinding, the road muddy like spring. Our baby girl slept against my back. Flocks of birds lifted off the fields in funnel clouds of whirring and chirping, moving from field to tree to telephone wire as we approached and receded. I was dazed. Muddy boots and red cheeks. For several steps I closed my eyes, then opened them to the light. For a moment, I forgot that he was dying.
The next winter, the snow came down in swirling flurries. I thought I saw ghosts flitting through the trees. The wind lifted the hemlock boughs like sheets on a clothesline. The few inches of accumulation pressed against anything offering resistance: drifts piled high against fence posts and tree trunks, but the roof impeccably clean. The weathered tarps draped over next winter’s wood were worn thin. The chickens stood in a patch of sunshine, feathers fluffed. Soon they went inside the coop. One stood, alone and facing north, for the longest time.
Sarah Kilch Gaffney‘s nonfiction has appeared widely, most recently in the Washington Post, Role Reboot, Mamalode, Hippocampus, Modern Loss, and Brain, Child. You can find her work at www.sarahkilchgaffney.com.
This is the first installment of the On Weather series, published on Sundays. See submission guidelines here.