My bed is warm and the down comforter oh-so-appealing but somehow I wake up anyway just minutes before the alarm blares. And I notice he’s not coughing for the first night in a week and I hit the switch before it blares and slip out from those covers and the floor is cold on my bare feet.
6 a.m. is too early for a Saturday.
And 40 minutes later I’ve pulled on my coat and wrapped the scarf around my face and pulled on gloves and I step out into the darkness.
A nearly-full moon hangs above the bank’s bell tower, brilliant and hard. Snow frozen solid crunches under my feet, its shattered pieces glinting in the white light. There are no stars in the dark sky.
The bank reads four degrees; but the official temperature we publish on page two is minus five. The car struggles to start, whining a high-pitch complaint as it tries to warm up enough to drive. A thick frost – is this what they call hoar frost? – layers the windshield.
And by the time I’ve got turned around and just three blocks down the road my hands are burning with the cold in spite of the gloves. The heater is useless today.
That thick frost coats the road and I’m following tire tracks marked in it, black against the white still reflecting the frozen moon. I don’t know if there’s ice but I suspect there is and drive gingerly; I’ve got the roads more or less to myself.
Steam from furnaces and smoke from banked wood fires rise white into the night sky.
And it’s odd how the white light of pre-dawn is so soft and gentle in the summer months, and how bitter and cold and aloof and haughty and overall how icy it is against the hard snow and the air that freezes lungs with every breath.
It’s brittle and sharp and if you were to catch a moonbeam it would slice your hand.