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Minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit;
windchill, minus 13.
I wait to go out
and feed animals
until the air warms
to 10 degrees
and the windchill has risen
to minus 3.
Sun
catches tiny edges of snowflakes,
glistening;
tree shadows spread
long across the plain of white;
snow fluffs into clouds
as my boots walk through it;
yesterday’s northern wind
has calmed,
It is really beautiful.
Never mind
the frozen pipes
in the bathroom.
Never mind
that carrying firewood
in these conditions
takes my breath.
In this moment,
it’s beautiful.

During the day,
some pipes thaw
despite the high of 15.
I spread birdseed
and fill bird feeders,
twice,
for a couple of hundred birds:
Sparrows, Cardinals, Red Winged Blackbirds,
a Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Meadowlarks.
Chickadee finally shows up
in late afternoon.
I head to the barn
to give reinforcements
as another cold night approaches.
Sun casts golden light
on grasses,
still standing in snow.
Tomorrow,
all the pipes will thaw.
I will need to gather enough wood
for the next storm.
And the snow will begin to melt.
Life will be easier
for everyone.
But beauty
will look different.

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