Not so quiet today---there's a brighter cast to the sun on the snow, though the NINETEEN shining from the little weatherchip spot on my screen tells me why my toes are tingling---I went out with all the Christmas trash and the leftover bits and pieces of all the holiday food. I warmed beans and dressing and dry muffins and croissants and all the heels-left-in-the-bags and poured on some saved-in-a-fridge-jar oil from frying fish, stirring it into a strange amalgam of breakfast for the birds.
I put on long socks, coat, gloves, and battered pink clogs, and spied out the landscape of the garden for an unnatural shape in the snow-blanket. A slightly-not-of-nature circle caught my eye, and I unearthed and tipped the snow from a big plant-pot bottom in the garden, one of several I kept filled with water all Summer for the little creatures outside. I found a spot of uncovered grass for setting it down, and poured in the warm mess, hoping the little fellows would spy or smell or somehow intuit the good nourishment and belly-filling warmth before the cold stone dish congealed the lump.
Up and down the drive in the sole-squeak of the snow, putting my toes into the last set of steps, so as to avoid the in-sift of freezing flakes into the hole-pattern in my rubber shoes, toes beginning to complain and vision flashes of Yuri Zhivago's cold trek with his frozen moustache.
As I locked the glass door, a tiny flurry from the snowy bushes dropped little showers, as a whole covey of hidden birdies left their perches in unison, like the Doors-Just-Opened-At-Denny's morning coffee crowd. They're all serious business in tiny spokes around that big pot-dish, delving in for quick warm bites, and I fancy I can still see a bit of steam rising from their midst. I hope so---nothing like tucking into a good hot breakfast made by somebody who loves you, on a snowy day. I'd love to know what they're thinking---if it's just accepted as what-should-be, or if there's a brain cell in there amongst survival and danger and that great instinct to nest and nurture the next generation---maybe there's one tiny synapse whose job it is to feel gratitude for such unexpected largesse.
Now, I'm in---dishtowels in the washer and the big fluff of my bed linens in the dryer, with the scents of Clorox and Bounce and the can of Hunts Four-Cheese Spaghetti Sauce competing in the kitchen. Chris makes all our pasta sauce, and we keep several quarts in the freezer, but the snow-shopping on Sunday led my hand to an old favorite from Southern snow-days: Plain old spaghetti---the regular size---with the plainest-of-the-plain jarred sauces. The spaghetti's been cooked and drained, put back into the hot pot with half the warmed sauce poured in, stirred, and then a shower of grated Farmers Cheese on top, lid on to meld and melt.
I'll cut up a little bowl of plain old iceberg, to dress with a little of the homemade 1000 that we keep in the fridge at all times---the sweet, vinegary tang of the dressing is a lovely memory-contrast against the bland pasta. (And if I could have found one of those little Chef Boyardee kits-in-a-box, with the teensy clutch of Pick-up Sticks and the little flavor packet---add your own can of tomato sauce---that I used to "make" when the kids were young, I'd have been throwing that thing right in my cart).
Chris will be home tonight, but right now is for cozying in---a plain, old-fashioned comfort-lunch in my chair with his big wooly blanket over my feet, and the last hour of Brideshead on the TIVO.
Then back to the business of the day. How about Y'all?