Saturday, January 21, 2006

Winter details

I knew the night so well in Nova Scotia. I looked to the glow of the street lamp from my bedroom window to check for rain or snow streaking through the fog, powered by the open-ocean wind. I knew the persistent cling-cling of rope snapping against masts at the wharf.

Often I was the only one awake, unless the rest of the townspeople were laying awake in their beds like me, in the dark. From my vantage point I could see that the rest of the lights were out.

The wind rattled the old windows, and the hot water heaters popped as the pipes alternately expanded and contracted. My father breathed heavily in his sleep down the hall. I heard the television's high-pitched test-pattern screech, and wondered how my mother could sleep through it. I rose from bed to make my way down the winding staircase and turn off the TV. I kissed my mother's forehead and wished her a whispered goodnight, to fulfill my daughterly duty without waking her. Then, before returning to bed, I paused in front of the picture windows, looking seaward and seeing nothing. The old woodstove crackled, the fire glowed orange through its gaps.

I wondered what the rest of the world was doing, outside of this last jut of land before the Atlantic void, then caught a chill and wandered back to my crisp bed sheets, thankful that my mother hung them outside to dry despite the cold weather. They smelled like the wind.

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