In lieu of a letter

I slept in until 7:30 this morning – about two and a half hours later than usual. A new dusting of snow on the ground and more in the air added to my disorientation. There was just enough snow to coat the flattened grass, making the path up to the other house exceptionally slippery. But now – a few minutes past noon – I look up from my writing table and see that somehow in the last three quarters of an hour the lawn and fields have returned to the wan colors they wore yesterday. The male cardinal comes in and lands on a branch three feet from my window, his dark red the brightest thing for miles. He tilts his dunce-capped head back and forth, as if deciding whether to launch an attack on his reflection for old time’s sake. I’m sure that fellow in the window is just as much of a mocker as he was last June, but he’s safe for now. After half a minute the cardinal flies off. Ever since breakfast I’ve been thinking about chowder, the kind with potatoes and cheese, canned tomatoes and frozen yellow corn. It will go well with the last of the pumpernickel bread. Wish you were here.

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